Gamine Vs. Swiss Skydiver in Epic Oaks Match
Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
By Emily Shields for TVG
All eyes will be at Churchill Downs this weekend, with the 2020 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks slated to be run once again. While the Kentucky Derby is the most anticipated race of the season, the Longines Kentucky Oaks has brought together one of the most anticipated match ups of the year.
Gamine, who has crossed the finish line first in all four of her starts, and Swiss Skydiver, who has won four major stakes races already this year, are slated to duel in the 1 1/8-mile Oaks, a race for three-year-old fillies worth $1,250,000.
Gamine’s official record is three wins in four starts following a disqualification at Oaklawn, but she answered that with a stunning victory in the Acorn (G1) at Belmont Park by more than 19 lengths. She then dropped back to seven furlongs to win the Test (G1) at Saratoga in equally impressive fashion. The daughter of Into Mischief will have to prove she ran run the nine-furlong Oaks distance, but trainer Bob Baffert has won the Oaks before and knows how to get a horse fit in time for a major race.
Swiss Skydiver hails from the barn of Ken McPeek. The daughter of Daredevil was just a $35,000 auction purchase and is now dollars short of $1 million in earnings. She broke her maiden at Churchill in 2019, and this year has strung together wins in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), Fantasy (G3), Santa Anita Oaks (G2), and the Alabama (G1) at Saratoga. She did lose the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) when finishing second in a field of top, Derby-bound colts.
There are rivals waiting in the wings to pounce if either of the top two choices should falter. Speech is coming off a win in the Ashland (G1) at Keeneland; the daughter of Mr Speaker is trained by Michael McCarthy. She will break from post 4.
Shedaresthedevil is coming off a win in the Indiana Oaks (G3) for trainer Brad Cox last out. She is another daughter of Daredevil, and won the Honeybee (G3) at Oaklawn Park earlier in the year.
Unraced since March 8, Donna Veloce has been training steadily for this. Last year she impressed when running second by a head in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) in just her second start. She has since been Grade 1 placed and won the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel at Santa Anita. Simon Callagahn trains.
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Breeders' Cup Pre-Entry Announcement to be Televised Live on TVG and Streamed Live on Breederscup.com on Wednesday, October 27
Pre-entered fields for the 2021 Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be announced live on TVG along with the Breeders’ Cup website, Official Mobile App, and Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channels on Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 8:30 a.m. PT/11:30 a.m. ET.