Gamine, Swiss Skydiver Face Off Against Seven Others in Kentucky Oaks 146
Four-Month Delay in Fillies Classic Doesn’t Keep Race From Drawing Top Runners
Robert Lund Petersen’s brilliant two-time grade I winner Gamine and Peter Callahan’s Swiss Skydiver, winner of the Alabama Stakes (GI) in her most recent start, headline a field of nine 3-year-old fillies who will race Friday’s 146th running of the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) at Churchill Downs.
Gamine, who is trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, was instilled as the even-money favorite by track linemaker Mike Battaglia and Swiss Skydiver checked in second choice on his list at 8-5. Only one other runner in the field– Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Madakat Stables LLC and Heider Family Stables LLC’s Speech – earned morning-line odds of less than double digits when she was made 5-1.
Gamine, a $1.8 million daughter of Into Mischief has won all four of her career races and runs in the Oaks off victories in the June 20 Acorn Stakes (GI) by 18 lengths and then the August 8 Test Stakes (GI) by a geared-down seven lengths. She was ridden by Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez in her last two and he leaves the final weekend of Saratoga to be in Louisville to accept the mount. This will be Gamine’s first start at this nine-furlong distance.
Velazquez has won the Oaks once aboard Ashado in 2004 and Baffert has thee previous Oaks winners — Abel Tasman (2017), Plum Pretty (2011) and Silverbulletday (1999).
Swiss Skydiver is coming off a 3 ¼-length victory in the 10-furlong Alabama in her last start, which followed an impressive second-place finish against the boys in the Blue Grass Stakes (GII) on July 11. The Kenny McPeek-trained daughter of Daredevil will again carry jockey Tyler Gaffalione and will lead the field to post.
Speech, who is trained by Michael McCarthy and based in California, returns to
Kentucky after winning the Ashland Stakes (GI) at Keeneland on July 11. She previously second to Swiss Skydiver in the Santa Anita Oaks (GII) was also once behind Gamine when third in an allowance race at Oaklawn Park back in May. Javier Castellano, who won the 2016 Oaks aboard Cathryn Sophia, has the mount on Speech once again.
Shedaresthedevil, who is trained by 2018 Oaks winner Brad Cox Jr. (Monomoy Girl), is riding a two-race win streak, including the Indiana Oaks (G3) by five lengths last out. Owned by Flurry Racing Stables, Qatar Racing Limited and Big Aut Farms, the daughter of Daredevil will carry regular jockey Florent Geroux, who is also the pilot for Monomoy Girl.
Kaleem Shah, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Donna Veloce, who is anoher based in California, is trained by Simon Callaghan and hasn’t raced since winning the Santa Ysabel Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita six months ago. The $800,000 daughter of Uncle Mo, who was second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI), will carry jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. for the first time since regular jockey Flavien Prat stayed in California to pursue the Del Mar riding title.
The entire field for the Longines Kentucky Oaks with riders and morning line odds, is:
- Swiss Skydiver, Tyler Gaffalione, 8-5
- Tempers Rising, Julien Leparoux, 50-1
- Donna Veloce, Ricardo Santana Jr., 15-1
- Speech, Javier Castellano, 5-1
- Gamine, John Velazquez, EVEN
- Bayerness, Rafael Bejarano, 50-1
- Shedaresthedevil, Florent Geroux, 20-1
- Hopeful Growth, Manny Franco, 30-1
- Dream Marie, Joe Talamo, 50-1
The Oaks is the day’s 12th race on a 13-race program with a 5:45 p.m. ET post time. First post at Churchill Downs Friday is 11 a.m. NBCSN will carry the Oaks as part of its 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. ET telecast.