Breeders’ Cup Classic may be next for Swiss Skydiver

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Swiss Skydiver winning at Santa Anita
June 6, 2020; Arcadia, CA, USA; Peter J. Callahan’s Swiss Skydiver and jockey Mike Smith win the Grade II $200,000 Santa Anita Oaks Saturday, June 6, 2020, Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, CA. Mandatory Credit: Benoit Photo via USA TODAY Sports

Trainer Kenny McPeek is content that Swiss Skydiver will go to next month’s Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland but he hasn’t yet settled on a target for the Preakness winner.

Swiss Skydiver was a gusty scorer in the final leg of the 2020 Triple Crown series at Pimlico on Saturday, running out to the line in strong fashion to repel the sustained challenge of Kentucky Derby winner Authentic.

The Preakness win upped Swiss Skydiver’s record for the season to five wins from nine starts. She became only the sixth filly to win the Preakness and the first since Rachel Alexandra scored in 2009 for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Robby Albarado’s filly gallantly held off Authentic by a head to grab the $600,000 purse, the pair having cleared away by 10 lengths from the remainder of the field, which was led home by outsider Jesus’ Team.

Swiss Skydiver is scheduled to fly back on Monday to her home base in Kentucky for some well-earned rest.

“We’ll probably give her three or four days, just light walk days and then we’ll put her on the track and make sure she’s in good order,” McPeek said. “She probably won’t have even another maintenance breeze for a couple of weeks.”

The $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic over a mile and quarter is now a realistic target for Swiss Skydiver, though McPeek can also consider staying within her division for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff over a furlong shorter.

He’s happy to buy himself some thinking time before committing to a Keeneland target, but he knows the options are there now.

“I really like the mile-and-a-quarter, I think that’s a great distance for her,” McPeek told Thoroughbred Los Angeles. “But we’ll look at the competition and try and see where she fits best.”

Owner Peter Callahan meanwhile was ecstatic after watching Swiss Skydiver become the sixth filly to win the Preakness in its 145-year history. The veteran owner is not a fan of going in against the boy in the Breeders’ Cup Classic after what he termed ‘a fistfight for the ages’ in the Preakness.

He prefers the option of the Distaff and, encouragingly for race fans, he sees Swiss Skydiver staying in training for a four-year-old campaign in 2021 regardless.

“Personally, I don’t think I want any part of the Classic,” he said. “It’s way too ambitious, I think.

“Do I want to campaign her at four?” he asked. “I am honestly thinking about that. I see lots of guys with horses at four having a ton of fun and making a few bucks, too. At this stage of my life, that wouldn’t be a bad tonic to get involved in. So it’s possible I will race her at four. I will wait a little while to make that call.”

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