(Swiss Skydiver / Coady Photography & Courtesy of Churchill Downs)
From the Keeneland Media Team:
PREAKNESS WINNER SWISS SKYDIVER WAS A SUPERSTAR
IN EARLY KEENELAND TRAINING
Long before she became the sixth filly to win the Preakness (G1) on Saturday, Peter Callahan’s Swiss Skydiver flaunted her talent at Keeneland, where she was purchased by trainer Kenny McPeek as agent at the 2018 September Yearling Sale. In defeating male rivals in the Preakness, Swiss Skydiver etched her name in the records alongside racing’s all-time great fillies and mares.
McPeek’s Keeneland-based assistant, Mike Kleier, vividly recalls Swiss Skydiver as a 2-year-old last year when she preparing for her career debut. She was a quick study who excelled against her classmates.
“She always showed that she was a heck of a horse in her workouts,” he said. “She was always outworking the competition by 5 lengths. One day Kenny said, ‘I hope that other horse is not that bad,’ and I said, ‘No, she is just that good.’ ”
Swiss Skydiver lived up to expectations in her first start despite being third choice at Churchill Downs in her career debut on Nov. 16. Near the back early in the 11-horse field, Swiss Skydiver gained command in the stretch and sailed home 5½ lengths in front. She has blossomed this year with five graded stakes victories, including the Preakness and Alabama (G1) at Saratoga. She was a game runner-up in both Keeneland’s Toyota Blue Grass (G2) against males and the Kentucky Oaks (G1) in her own division.
“I was confident she would run good in the Preakness,” Kleier said. “I just wanted her to have a clean trip. She was impeded (slightly) in the Oaks. We thought she got trapped on the rail and could not get through (on the turn for home).”
Kleier said Swiss Skydiver is always professional on the track and at the barn.
“She is very laid back, easy to gallop and takes everything in stride,” he said. “No muss, no fuss. She just wants to do her thing.”
With her Preakness win, Swiss Skydiver earned a berth in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1); her Alabama performance means a berth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). Both races will be run Nov. 7 at Keeneland.
(Got Stormy at KY Downs / Coady Photography & Courtesy of KY Downs)
MILLIONAIRE GOT STORMY HEADLINES FIELD OF 12
FOR FRIDAY’S BUFFALO TRACE FRANKLIN COUNTY
Gary Barber’s multiple Grade 1 winner Got Stormy tops a field of 12 fillies and mares entered Sunday for Friday’s 24th running of the $150,000 Buffalo Trace Franklin County going 5½ furlongs over the Keeneland turf course.
The Buffalo Trace Franklin County will go as the ninth race on Friday’s 10-race program with a 5:30 p.m. ET post time. First post Friday is 1:05 p.m.
Trained by Mark Casse, Got Stormy comes into Friday’s race off a 3¼-length romp in the Ladies Sprint (G3) at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 12 going 6½ furlongs. An earner of more than $1.9 million, Got Stormy finished third in her lone Keeneland start that came in the 2019 Coolmore Jenny Wiley (G1).
Tyler Gaffalione has the mount and will break from post position 10.
The field for the Buffalo Trace Franklin County, with riders and weights from the inside, is: Bohemian Bourbon (Corey Lanerie, 120 pounds), Into Mystic (Joe Talamo, 120), Surrender Now (Ricardo Santana Jr., 120), Tomlin (James Graham, 120), Jakarta (Javier Castellano, 120), Violent Times (Brian Hernandez Jr., 120), Winning Envelope (Julien Leparoux, 120), Change of Control (Colby Hernandez, 122),Stillwater Cove (Gerardo Corrales, 120), Got Stormy (Gaffalione, 124), Chalon (Rafael Bejarano, 120) and Ambassador Luna (Florent Geroux, 120).
(Ivar / Coady Photography & Courtesy of Keeneland)
SHADWELL TURF MILE WINNER IVAR TO PREP FOR BREEDERS’ CUP
AT THE THOROUGHBRED CENTER
Trainer Paulo Lobo reported Sunday morning that upset Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) winner Ivar (BRZ) came out of his victory “very well” and was back at his home base at The Thoroughbred Center on the northeast side of Lexington.
Ivar gave Lobo and jockey Joe Talamo their first Keeneland stakes victories and gave Lobo his first Grade 1 victory since 2004.
Owned by Bonne Chance Farm and Stud RDI, Ivar earned a fees-paid berth into the $2 million Breeders’ Cup FanDuel Mile (G1) Presented by PDJF here on Nov. 7.
Lobo said Ivar would have two or three works at The Thoroughbred Center and return to Keeneland Breeders’ Cup week.
Ivar finished a length in front of Raging Bull (FR), one of four runners in the Shadwell for trainer Chad Brown.
Baldo Hernandez, assistant to Brown, said all four runners – third-place finisher Without Parole (GB), Flavius (fifth) and favored Analyze It (eighth) — came out of the race fine with immediate travel plans to be determined.
(Uni / Coady Photography & Courtesy of Keeneland)
UNI (GB) DOING WELL FOLLOWING REPEAT VICTORY
IN FIRST LADY PRESENTED BY UK HEALTHCARE
Robert LaPenta, Michael Dubb, Head of Plains Partners and Bethlehem Stables’ Uni (GB), who on Saturday became the first repeat winner of the $350,000 First Lady (G1) Presented by UK HealthCare for fillies and mares, and stablemate Newspaperofrecord (IRE) who finished third, were both doing well Sunday morning at trainer Chad Brown’s barn.
With the victory, the Eclipse Award-winning grass mare of 2019 earned a berth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Maker’s Mile Filly and Mare Turf (G1) to be run here at 1 3/16 miles. Another option for Uni would be defending her title against the boys in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup FanDuel Mile (G1) Presented by PDJF the same day.
Baldo Hernandez, assistant to Brown, said immediate travel plans are to be determined.
The Mile against the boys also is an option for First Lady Presented by UK HealthCare runner-up Beau Recall (IRE), according to trainer Brad Cox.
“She’s just tough. That was a big effort yesterday,” Cox said. “It is hard to believe she hasn’t won a Grade 1. She beat Uni in the Just a Game and has beaten Newspaperofrecord twice, and one of those is a champion and the other also a Breeders’ Cup winner.”
Beau Recall is scheduled to ship back to Cox’s main base at Churchill Downs today. Cox said he would talk with owners Nick Cosato of Slam Dunk Racing and Phillip Shelton of Medallion Racing concerning a possible run in the Mile.
CLAIBORNE BREEDERS’ FUTURITY WINNER ESSENTIAL QUALITY HIGHLIGHTS ROLLER-COASTER DAY FOR COX
With three runners at Keeneland and seven runners in stakes at Pimlico Saturday, trainer Brad Cox spent much of his afternoon watching races either trackside or on his phone.
“It was a roller coaster all day,” Cox said. “A couple favorites won at Pimlico – Juliet Foxtrot (GB) in the Gallorette (G3) and Factor This in the Dinner Party (G2) – and some that were not up to the task. ThenBonny South (beaten a diminishing neck in the George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan -G2), she ran a winning race.”
Forty minutes after the near miss by Bonny South, Godolphin’s homebred Essential Quality delivered a tour de force at Keeneland in the $400,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) with a 3¼-length victory.
“Anytime you can win a Grade 1, it’s fantastic,” Cox said of Essential Quality’s triumph that secured a fees-paid berth into the $2 million TVG Juvenile (G1) Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance to be run here Nov. 6.
“He has been a good colt right from the start. He will go back to Churchill this afternoon to more of his comfort zone.”
CONTRERAS GLAD HE KEPT THOROUGHBRED CLUB OF AMERICA
When Inthemidstofbiz traveled to Presque Isle Downs in August for the Satin and Lace Stakes, trainer Cipriano Contreras found an offer he could refuse.
“We had a chance to sell her at Presque Isle,” said Contreras, who owns the 4-year-old filly with Andrew Knapczyk. “But she’s never run a bad race this year, and I said I want to hang on to her.”
Fast forward to Saturday when Inthemidstofbiz, a $20,000 claim here last fall, scored a 3-length victory in the $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2) and earned a berth in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) to be run here Nov. 7.
“She was doing well, and I thought she had a chance,” Contreras said Sunday morning as he checked in on Inthemidstofbiz and Saracosa, who he will saddle this afternoon for owner Chad Schumer in the $400,000 Juddmonte Spinster (G1). “I knew it was a ‘Win and You’re In’ for the Breeders’ Cup, but I did not realize until after the race that it was a Grade 2.”
Inthemidstofbiz is scheduled to return tonight to Indiana Grand, where she will train up to the Breeders’ Cup.
“She probably will have her last work there,” Contreras said. “Not sure right now, but we will see what happens the next couple weeks with how the track is playing.”
NO PLACE LIKE HOME FOR WOODFORD PRESENTED BY TVG
Amy Dunne, Brenda Miley, Westrock Stables and Jean Wilkinson’s Leinster continued to show his affinity for the Keeneland turf course by posting a half-length victory in Saturday’s $150,000 Woodford (G2) Presented by TVG.
“He likes it firm and he likes any turf course,” trainer Rusty Arnold said of Leinster, the course record holder at 5½ furlongs whose lone loss in four starts here came in last year’s Woodford. “Here he gets to run out of his own barn, and I think that means more than the course.”
Saturday’s victory should be enough to earn Leinster a return trip to the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) here on Nov. 7. Last year at Santa Anita, Leinster finished seventh in that race.
Finishing second for the fifth time in a graded stakes was DARRS, Inc.’s Extravagant Kid.
“He’s going to get one eventually,” trainer Brendan Walsh said of the elusive graded stakes score.
Walsh said he hasn’t ruled out a possible Breeders’ Cup run.
“We’ll see what happens the next couple weeks, but I’m not ruling anything out,” Walsh said.
Should that first graded stakes win come in the Breeders’ Cup, would that make up for all the near misses?
“It would make up for it tenfold,” Walsh said.
Luis Saez became the 10th jockey to sweep the Darley Alcibiades (G1) and Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) in the same year when he completed the double with Essential Quality on Saturday. On Friday, he won the Darley Alcibiades on Simply Ravishing.
Prior to the Saez sweep, the most recent rider to complete the double was Rafael Bejarano in 2004. Other riders to accomplish the feat were Pat Day (1995), Jose Santos (1989), Sandy Hawley (1986), Daryl Montoya (1984), Eddie Delahoussaye (1978), Don Brumfield (1972), W.D. Lucas (1963) and John Rotz (1959). …
Bejarano rode Rigney Racing’s Majestic West, trained by Philip Bauer, to victory in the first race Saturday to score his first win at Keeneland since the 2010 Fall Meet. Bejarano has four titles as Keeneland’s leading jockey: Spring 2006 (tie with then-apprentice Julien Leparoux with 17 wins), Fall 2004 (26 wins), Fall 2005 (30 wins) and Fall 2007 (21 wins).
BEST TURNED OUT HONOREES ON SATURDAY
In selected races during Keeneland’s 2020 Fall Meet, grooms of racehorses determined to have the best overall appearance in the Saddling Paddock are recognized with Best Turned Out (BTO) awards. On Saturday, these grooms received BTO honors and $500 each:
Shadwell Farm sponsored these BTO awards:
Race 1: Adriana Ramirez, groom of Fra Mauro.
Race 2: Albino Mata, groom of Will’s Secret.
Race 3: Telvy Alvarez, groom of Pico d’Oro.
Race 6: Amabiel Martinez, groom of Chaps.
Race 8 (First Lady-G1 Presented by UK HealthCare): Omar Behena, groom of Dalika (GER).
Race 10 (Shadwell Turf Mile-G1): Fernando Martinez, groom of Parlor.
Race 11: Sarai Martinez, groom of Nifty.
Claiborne Farm sponsored these BTO awards:
Race 4: Saul Melchor, groom of Mejthaam.
Race 5: Jose Becerra, trainer of Happymac.
Race 9 (Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity-G1): Darwin Aguilar, groom of the winner, Essential Quality.
Thoroughbred Club of America sponsored the BTO award for the seventh race, the Thoroughbred Club of America (G2). The honor went to Munel Aguilar, groom of Dos Vinos.
SATURDAY STAKES PROBABLES
$500,000 QUEEN ELIZABETH II CHALLENGE CUP (G1) PRESENTED BY DIXIANA (Entries taken Wednesday; race Saturday, Oct. 10) – Invitees: Antoinette (trainer Bill Mott),California Kook (Peter Miller), Harvey’s Lil Goil (Mott), Hendy Woods (Mark Casse), Lucky Betty (William VanMeter), Magic Attitude (GB) (Arnaud Delacour), Micheline (Mike Stidham), Red Lark (IRE) (Paddy Gallagher), Speaktomeofsummer (Christophe Clement), Sweet Melania (Todd Pletcher), Tamahere (FR) (Chad Brown).
$200,000 HAGYARD FAYETTE (G2) (Entries taken Wednesday; race Saturday, Oct. 10) –Aurelius Maximus (Steve Asmussen), Captivating Moon (Chris Block), Coastal Defense (Dale Romans), Crafty Daddy (Kenny McPeek), Higher Power (John Sadler), Miranaque (ARG) (Maria Munoz), Mr Freeze (Romans), Multiplier (Peter Miller), Rated R Superstar (Cipriano Contreras), Tax(Danny Gargan).