(Trainer Ken McPeek will saddle Swiss Skydiver in Saturday’s G2 Santa Anita Oaks / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)
From the Santa Anita Media Team:
Midwestern invader Swiss Skydiver seeks her third consecutive graded stakes victory as she heads a field of five sophomore fillies going a mile and one sixteenth in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Anita Oaks.
Based with trainer Ken McPeek at Churchill Downs, Swiss Skydiver’s primary opposition will likely come from Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Speech. Trained by Michael McCarthy, Speech has been second in her last three starts, including the Grade III Santa Ysabel Stakes here two starts back on March 8. A daughter of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, Bob Baffert’s Merneith will be stretching out off a 10 ¼ length maiden score at Oaklawn Park and could be good enough to spring an upset.
Additionally, there are 170 Grade I Kentucky Oaks qualifying points at stake, with the winner to receive 100, second, 40, third, 20 and 10 points to the fourth place finisher. The Kentucky Oaks will be run at Churchill Downs on Friday, Sept. 4.
Owner: Peter J. Callahan
Trainer: Ken McPeek
A gate to wire victress of the Grade II Gulfstream Park Oaks by 3 ¼ lengths two starts back on March 28, she got little respect among a field of 14 in the Grade III Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn on May 1. Dismissed at 16-1, she stalked the early pace and went on to an authoritative 2 ½ length win, earning a 99 Beyer. By the More Than Ready stallion Daredevil, out of the Johannesburg mare Expo Gold, Swiss Skydiver ships west with three wins from six starts.
Owner: Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners
Trainer: Michael McCarthy
Purchased for $190,000 out of the Ocala Breeders 2-year-old in Training Sale in March, 2019, this filly by Mr. Speaker broke her maiden going six furlongs in her second start by nine lengths at Los Alamitos on Dec. 14 and was subsequently second in a six furlong allowance here Feb. 1 prior to stretching out for the first time in her second place run in the Grade III Santa Ysabel on March 8. Second, beaten a neck by budding star Gamine in a 1 1/16 mile allowance at Oaklawn, Speech earned a career-best 97 Beyer Speed figure and is improving with each start for McCarthy.
Owner: HRH Prince Sultan Bin Mishal Al Saud
Trainer: Bob Baffert
A $600,000 Ocala 2-year-old in training sale purchase in March 2019, she’s been favored in all three of her starts, including a nose defeat going a flat mile here two starts back on Feb. 23. Off at 4-5 going six furlongs on a sloppy track at Oaklawn on April 19, Merneith has the look of something special and she may well blast off early and try to dominate the Oaks tempo on Saturday.
THE GRADE II SANTA ANITA OAKS WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 5 of 11 Approximate post time 2:30 p.m. PT
- Swiss Skydiver–Mike Smith–124
- Merneith–Drayden Van Dyke–124
- Speech–Flavien Prat–124
- Smiling Shirlee–Ruben Fuentes–124
- Regal Beauty–Abel Cedillo–124
First post time for an 11-race card on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.