Swiss Skydiver joined the Kentucky Oaks picture with a 9-1 upset in the $200,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), leading throughout to score by 3 1/4 lengths. The chestnut filly guaranteed herself a Kentucky Oaks berth winning the major qualifying race, recording her first stakes triumph in the fifth career start, and Paco Lopez was up.
Owned by Peter J. Callaghan and trained by Kenny McPeek, Swiss Skydiver was exiting an eventhird in the Feb. 15 Rachel Alexandra (G2) at Fair Grounds. She opened her 3-year-old season with a fast-closing fifth in the Jan. 18 Gasparilla at Tampa Bay Downs.
Lopez sent his mount straight to the front from the starting gate, establishing moderate splits in :24.33, :49.12 and 1:13.30 on a short lead, and Swiss Skydiver drew off sharply into the stretch to win comfortably. She completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.54 on the fast Gulfstream track.
As a major qualifier for the Kentucky Oaks, which has been rescheduled for Sept. 4, the Gulfstream Park Oaks awarded points on a 100-40-20-10 scale to the top four finishers.
Lucrezia, the 9-2 third choice among 12 fillies, tracked in second from the start and held by a nose over Lake Avenue, who surged late to just miss second at 5-1. It was a half-length back to 105-1 outsider Bajan Girl in fourth.
Spice Is Nice, who was never a factor from off the pace at 2-1 odds, came next in fifth, and was followed by Dream Marie, 9-5 favorite Tonalist’s Shape, Spartanka, Mrs. S, Inveterate, Sunset Promise, and Addilyn.
Swiss Skydiver, who captured her career debut and finished a close second in an entry-level allowance at Churchill Downs last November, has now earned $197,980 from a 5-2-1-1 record.
Bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm, Swiss Skydiver was purchased for $35,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September yearling sale. She is from the first crop of Grade 1 winner Daredevil, and is out of Johannesburg mare Expo Gold. Swiss Skydiver counts the stakes-placed Miss Hot Legs as a half-sister.