Longines Classic Division
OwnerPeter J. Callahan
BreederWinStar Farm LLC
Swiss Skydiver flew to the top of the 3-year-old filly division with a 3-race winning streak in graded stakes. The versatile chestnut has competed at six tracks this year under four different jockeys.
Her first win of 2020 was a 9-1 upset in the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), where she bested eleven rivals by 3 1/4 lengths.
In her follow-up effort, Oaklawn’s Fantasy Stakes (G3), she again went off at long odds of 16-1, but she was among a deep, full field of14 that included champion British Idiom and Venetian Harbor, who has won her two previous races by a combined 20 front-running lengths. She dueled with Venetian Harbor and the two ran away from the field. Swiss Skydiver prevailed over the final furlong to win by 2 ½ lengths.
Next, she was sent off as the 3-5 favorite in the four-horse field of the Santa Anita Oaks (G2). Swiss Skydiver led throughout and won by 4 lengths, adding more points to her already-substantial lead on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard.
Not wanting to sell their filly short, Swiss Skydiver’s connections decided to test her against the boys. She faced 12 male rivals in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) July 11 and finished a valiant second to Art Collector, earning points on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, although the race confirmed her Oaks path.
Trainer Kenny McPeek purchased the filly for $35,000 for owner Peter Callahan, who is semi-retired from the communications and publishing industries. At one time he was the largest shareholder in the National Enquirer and Star Magazine and owned a stake in The Daily Racing Form and numerous trade magazines. He campaigned Beautician, who finished second by three-quarters of a length in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and came back missing one of her shoes.
“I'm 78 and I have pre-existing medical conditions—I don't have much of an immune system—so I'm in jail when it comes to these days with the coronavirus," Callahan said. "So winning these big races—even with the reduced pots—I got to tell you, it puts the smile on this old man's face. I can tell you there's no medication in the cabinet that could do what horse racing can do."
- October 30, 2020
The Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 7 at Keeneland Race Course is arguably the most important race in determining which Thoroughbred will be honored as Horse of the Year at the Eclipse Awards.
- October 30, 2020
The Longines Breeders' Cup Classic is the marquee race at a championship event and annually attracts many of the best racehorses in training.