Friday, September 4, 2020

Sunny Day Expected for Kentucky Oaks; King Guillermo Scratched from Derby

Friday, Sept. 4 -- First post time is 11:00 a.m. Eastern for today's Kentucky Oaks card at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

Conditions are listed as Fast and Good for the 13-race program.  The Weather Channel forecast is for a zero percent chance of rain through the afternoon.

The turf course is still drying out from rain on Wednesday and Thursday. But it likely will be upgraded to Firm by early in the afternoon. 

The $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (Grade 1) is the 12th race with scheduled post of 5:45 p.m. Eastern.

It will be a showdown and first meeting between Swiss Skydiver, whose four graded stakes wins this year include the Gulfstream Park Oaks (Grade 2), and the Bob Baffert-trained Gamine, who has finished first in all four of her career races.

Gamine will no doubt try to take the field gate-to-wire in the 1 1/8  mile race, with Swiss Skydiver stalking in an attempt to keep  her rival from getting loose.

Tyler Gaffalione will ride Swiss Skydiver for trainer Ken McPeek. Both are regulars at Gulfstream Park's championship meets. John Velazquez will ride Gamine.

We will have a preview later this morning, with a focus on Swiss Skydiver's owner Peter Callahan who lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

We will have coverage of today's undercard races on this blog.

The cable channel NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will have live coverage from 12:00 p.m. through 3:00 p.m. and again from 5:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.

King Guillermo Scratched

King Guillermo, the winner of this year's Tampa Bay Derby (Grade 2) at Tampa Bay Downs, has been scratched from Saturday's Kentucky Derby (Grade 1)  due to a fever.

Owner VictorMartinez of Victoria’s Ranch reported that development on Thursday

Trained by Juan Carlos Avila, King Guillermo was evaluated by veterinarians after the team discovered he had a fever Wednesday afternoon. Avila and Martinez made the decision Thursday to scratch the colt from Saturday’s “Run for the Roses.”

“To race in a race like the Derby we need him at 100 percent,” Avila said. “We aren’t going to be able to demonstrate how good he is like this. I think we are going to have plenty of time to show his quality. He’s going to be a great horse and everybody knows we have to take care of the horse first. The next step is to try to get him ready for the Preakness and go from there.”

Martinez added, “The sad part is that Juan said yesterday was his best day here. When we left the track in the morning following training and came back in the afternoon for feed time, we discovered he had a fever. It’s just the sad part about this game.”

The defection of King Guillermo leaves the Kentucky Derby field with 17 starters. The two inside gates and one outside gate of the new Kentucky Derby starting gate will remain open. The post positions that were drawn Tuesday remain unchanged.


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HorseRacing FLA staff