Swiss Skydiver Returns for Oaks

Aug 26, 2020

Peter Callahan’s newly minted Grade I winner Swiss Skydiver returned to Churchill Downs Tuesday evening and made her reappearance beneath the Twin Spires Wednesday for the first time since her 3 ½-length triumph in the $600,000 Alabama (GI).

          Swiss Skydiver had a routine gallop Wednesday during the exclusive training window from 7:30-7:45 a.m. (all times Eastern) for horses preparing for the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) and the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI). Tyler Gaffalione will have the call on Swiss Skydiver for the Oaks.

          “Tyler got her ready as a 2-year-old and rode her twice to start her career,” trainer Kenny McPeek said. “Through different circumstances – either he was zigging or we were zagging – he didn’t get to ride her back. Brian Hernandez is my regular rider and he has a commitment in the Derby aboard Art Collector and our thought was if she ran well in the Oaks that we would try the Preakness (GI).

          “She’ll work either Friday or Saturday and be ready for the race. It’ll be just a maintenance breeze here at Churchill. Other than that it’s uncomplicated to get her ready for the Oaks.”

          Joining Swiss Skydiver on the track at 7:30 a.m. was Victoria’s Ranch’s King Guillermo , who broke from the starting gate and galloped 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Edgar Medina. King Guillermo will be making his first start since his runner-up effort behind Nadal in the May 2, $500,000 Arkansas Derby (GI).

          “Having not raced in four months, we wanted him to get reacquainted with the gate,” trainer Juan Avila said. “Everything went well this morning there.”

          A trio of Longines Kentucky Oaks contenders also joined Swiss Skydiver on the track Wednesday at 7:30 a.m. including the first local appearance from Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Madaket Stables and Heider Family Stables’ $400,000 Ashland Stakes (GI) winner Speech, who arrived at Churchill Downs just past noon Tuesday. The three-time winner had an easy 1 ½-mile gallop. Her stablemate, Jim and Donna Daniell’s $600,000 Blue Grass Stakes (GII) third-place finisher Rushie, who trained just past 8 a.m. Rushie is also nominated for the $500,000 Pat Day Mile presented by LG&E and KU (GII) on the undercard of the Kentucky Derby.

Raymond Daniels and Wayne Scherr’s graded stakes placed Necker Island was the only other Derby contender, besides King Guillermo, on the track at 7:30 a.m. where he galloped 1 ½ miles with Hillary Hartman in the saddle. Trainer Chris Hartman reported Necker Island is scheduled to work in company Friday morning.

Four Kentucky Derby contenders were on the track prior to the exclusive training session: Lloyd Madison Farm’s $300,000 Indiana Derby (GIII) runner-up Major Fed galloped 1 ½ miles at 5:15 a.m. under exercise rider Margarito Fierro; West Point Thoroughbreds and Pearl Racing’s Arkansas Derby third-place finisher Winning Impression galloped 1 ½ miles under rider Emerson Chavez; John Oxley ’s Blue Grass Stakes fourth-place finisher Enforceable jogged about 1 3/8 miles; and George Hall and SportBLX Thoroughbreds’ $1 million Travers Stakes (GI) third Max Player galloped about 1 ½ miles under exercise rider Juan Vargas.

Jim Bakke and Gerald Isbister’s $200,000 Ellis Park Derby runner-up Attachment Rate galloped 1 ½ miles at 9:45 a.m. with exercise rider Faustino Herrarte in the saddle. Trainer Dale Romans reported Attachment Rate is nominated to the Pat Day Mile and the race decision remains en flux.

Bruce Lunsford ’s Blue Grass (GII) and Ellis Park Derby winner Art Collected arrived at Churchill Downs from the Skylight Training Center on Wednesday morning and will train over the track on Thursday. 

ARRIVAL INFORMATION – Several Kentucky Derby contenders have yet to converge on Churchill Downs but are scheduled to arrive in the upcoming week. The following is the latest arrival information, according to senior director of the stable area Steve Hargrave:

·        Sunday via flight from New York: Caracaro (Gustavo Delgado) and Ny Traffic (Saffie Joseph)

·        Sunday via van from Florida: Sole Volante (Patrick Biancone)

·        Aug. 31 via flight from San Diego to Louisville: Authentic (Bob Baffert), Honor A. P. (John Shirreffs), Storm the Court (Peter Eurton); and Thousand Words (Baffert)

·        Aug. 31 via flight from New York: Dr Post (Todd Pletcher) and Tiz the Law (Barclay Tagg)

·        Aug. 31 or Sept. 1 via van from Canada: Shirl’s Speight (Roger Attfield)

KENTUCKY DERBY FIELD RUNDOWN : The possible field, in order of preference, for the 146 th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) (with jockey): Tiz the Law (Manny Franco); Authentic (John Velazquez); Art Collector (Brian Hernandez Jr.); Honor A.P. (Mike Smith); Ny Traffic (Paco Lopez); King Guillermo (Samy Camacho); Thousand Words (Florent Geroux); Max Player (Ricardo Santana Jr.); Caracaro (Javier Castellano); Enforceable (Adam Beschizza); Major Fed (James Graham); Storm the Court (Julien Leparoux); Sole Volante (Luca Panici); Finnick the Fierce (Martin Garcia); Winning Impression (Joe Rocco Jr.); Necker Island (Miguel Mena); and Shirl’s Speight (Corey Lanerie). Possible: Dr Post (Tyler Gaffalione); Rushie (TBA); Attachment Rate (Joe Talamo); Money Moves (TBA). 

KENTUCKY OAKS FIELD RUNDOWN : The possible field, in order of preference, for the 146 th running of the $1.25 million Longines Kerntucky Oaks (GI) (with jockey): Swiss Skydiver (Tyler Gaffalione); Speech (Javier Castellano); Bonny South (TBA); Shedaresthedevil (Florent Geroux); Project Whiskey (Paco Lopez); Donna Veloce (TBA); Gamine (John Velazquez); Hopeful Growth (Manny Franco); Dream Marie (TBA); and Bayerness (TBA).

DERBY WEEK STAKES NOMINATIONS – Seventeen stakes races cumulatively worth purses of $9.78 million are on tap for Kentucky Derby Week at Churchill Downs, which runs Tuesday, Sept. 1 through Saturday, Sept. 5. The spectacular week of racing, headlined by the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I) on Sept. 5 and $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) on Sept. 4, will feature 14 graded stakes events. Here’s a look at some of the known early probable entrants, according to assistant racing secretary and stakes coordinator Dan Bork

$115,000 Champion’s Day Marathon Overnight Stakes presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (Entries taken Friday, race Tuesday, Sept. 1) – Probable: Eskenforit (trainer Steve Margolis); You’re to Blame (Todd Pletcher).

$150,000 Unbridled Sidney (Entries taken Saturday, race Wednesday, Sept. 2) – Bye Bye J (Steve Asmussen); Change of Control (Michelle Lovell); Dixieincandyland (Eddie Kenneally); Stonewood (Carlo Vaccarezza); Tomlin (Mike Stidham); and Violent Times (Ralph Nicks).

$200,000 Pocahontas (GII) (Entries taken Sunday, race Thursday, Sept. 1) – Alexandria (Tim Hamm); Crazy Beautiful (Kenny McPeek); Dream Quist (McPeek); Girl Daddy (Dale Romans); Trip to Seoul (James Chapman); and Xtrema (Keith Desormeaux).

$115,000 Opening Verse Overnight Stakes (Entries taken Sunday, race Thursday, Sept. 1) – Crafty Daddy (Kenny McPeek); Cullum Road (Ignacio Correas IV); Hembree (Mike Maker); and Mr. Misunderstood (Brad Cox). Possible: Set Piece (Brad Cox). 

$300,000 Eight Belles presented by (GII) (Entries taken Monday, Race Friday, Sept. 4) – Four Graces (Ian Wilkes); Mundaye Call (Brad Cox); and Sconsin (Greg Foley). Possible: Ocean Breeze (Wayne Catalano).

$300,000 Edgewood presented by Forcht Bank (GII) (Entries taken Monday, Race Friday, Sept. 4) – Beguiled (Phil D’Amato); Lucky Betty (Will VanMeter); Outburst (Eddie Kenneally); and Sharing (Graham Motion). 

$250,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint presented by Sysco (GII) (Entries taken Monday, Race Friday, Sept. 4) – Archidust (Steve Asmussen); Carotari (Bryan Lynch); Chaps (Eddie Kenneally); Chief Cicatriz (Shawn Davis); Diamond Oops (Patrick Biancone); Extravagant Kid (Brendan Walsh); Tell Your Daddy (Neil Pessin); Tiger Blood (Mike Maker); and Well Abled (Larry Rivelli).

$400,000 Alysheba presented by Sentient Jet (GII) (Entries taken Monday, Race Friday, Sept. 4) – By My Standards (Bret Calhoun); Hence (Jack Sisterson); McKinzie (Bob Baffert) Owendale (Brad Cox); Silver Dust (Bret Calhoun); and Title Ready (Dallas Stewart). 

$1 million Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic (GI) (Entries taken Tuesday, Sept. 1, Race Saturday, Sept. 5) – Bowies Hero (Phil D’Amato); Digital Age (Chad Brown); Factor This (Brad Cox); Mr Dumas (Mike Maker); Parkland (Carlo Vaccarezza); Sacred Life (Chad Brown); Somelikeithotbrown (Maker); and Spectacular Gem (Jimmy Baker).

$500,000 La Troienne presented by Oak Grove Racing & Gaming (GI) (Entries taken Monday, Race Friday, Sept. 4) – Monomoy Girl (Brad Cox); and She’s a Julie (Steve Asmussen). Possible: Ce Ce (Michael McCarthy); Lady Kate (Eddie Kenneally); Vexatious (Jack Sisterson).

$500,000 Derby City Distaff presented by Derby City Gaming (GI) (Entries taken Tuesday, Sept. 1, Race Saturday, Sept. 5) – Bell’s the One (Neil Pessin); Mia Mischief (Steve Asmussen); Sally’s Curlin (Dale Romans); Serengeti Empress (Tom Amoss); and Wildwood’s Beauty (Scott Becker). Possible: Ce Ce (Michael McCarthy); Lady Kate (Eddie Kenneally). 

$500,000 Longines Distaff Turf Mile (GII) (Entries taken Tuesday, Sept. 1, Race Saturday, Sept. 5) – Beau Recall (Brad Cox); Belle Laura (Juan Avila); Daddy Is a Legend (Rusty Arnold); Juliet Foxtrot (Brad Cox); and Newspaperofrecord (Chad Brown). Possible: She’sonthewarpath (Steve Margolis).

$500,000 American Turf presented by Smithfield (GII) (Entries taken Tuesday, Sept. 1, Race Saturday, Sept. 5) – Fancy Liquor (Mike Maker); Field Pass (Maker); King Theo (Carlo Vaccarezza); Mr. Big News (Bret Calhoun); Sugoi (Mike Tomlinson); and Vanzzy (Mike Pino). Possible: South Bend (Bill Mott). 

$500,000 Pat Day Mile presented by LG&E and KU (GII) (Entries taken Tuesday, Sept. 1, Race Saturday, Sept. 5) – Echo Town (Steve Asmussen); Liam’s Pride (Doug O’Neill); Shashashakemeup (Keith Desormeaux); and Sonneman (Steve Asmussen). Possible: Attachment Rate (Dale Romans); Rushie (Michael McCarthy); South Bend (Bill Mott); and Taishan (Richard Baltas).

$200,000 Iroquois presented by Ford (GIII) (Entries taken Tuesday, Sept. 1, Race Saturday, Sept. 5) – Belafonte (Tom Humphries); Drop Anchor (Kenny McPeek); Pico D’Oro (Bill Morey); Sittin On Go (Dale Romans); Super Stock (Steve Asmussen); Therideofalifetime (Ignacio Correas IV); and Ultimate Badger (Romans). 

KENTUCKY DERBY, OAKS WORKOUTS TO BE STREAMED LIVE – Churchill Downs Racetrack will provide live online streaming of Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks contenders’ workouts when the exclusive 7:30-7:45 a.m. (all times Eastern) training window.

The live stream presented by will be available at multiple sources including on Facebook at; on Twitter via @ KentuckyDerby and; on YouTube at; and

The live video will include graphics to identify each horse and commentary from an array of industry experts including: Churchill Downs Host and Racing Analyst Joe Kristufek along with Racing Experts Scott Shapiro, Ed DeRosa, Brandon Stauble and Chantal Sutherland.

A special 15-minute session from 7:30-7:45 a.m. is exclusive to Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks participants and any workmates. The specially-made Derby and Oaks saddle towels must be worn to gain access to the racetrack during that window.

NEWSFEED AUDIO/VIDEO AVAILABLE – The Kentucky Derby Newsfeed is now available via FTP download. Files are 1080 HD and will be uploaded on a daily basis.

To access Newsfeed footage & News Conferences via FTP client ( Filezilla, Cyberduck, etc) use the following:


Username: kyderby146

Password: 2020DerbyMedia

Port: 22

To access Newsfeed footage & News Conferences via web browser, enter this information into your browser address bar: You will receive a prompt to enter a username and password. 

Username: kyderby146

Password: 2020DerbyMedia

For further information, inquires or technical difficulties, please contact Jesse B. Kelsey, Vice-President of Hammond Communications Group, Inc. at (859) 492-5768. 

EDITORIAL PHOTOS VIA COADY PHOTOGRAPHY FTP – For the latest Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks photos from Coady Photography visit: Please credit all photos to Churchill Downs/Coady Photography.

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