Distaff ‘likely spot’ 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

Kenny McPeek is closing in on a Breeders’ Cup decision for Swiss Skydiver, with the Classic and Distaff still options on the table for the Preakness winner.

The trainer has suggested ‘the likely spot is the Distaff’ with a firm decision expected this weekend after further consultations with owner Peter Callahan.

Both races are still under consideration says McPeek, who outlined the thought process behind the planning.

“We figured we’d take a look and see what the Classic looked like. We haven’t had an opportunity to sit down and study the past performances yet, but we’re going to do that in the next probably 24, 48 hours, get clarity on which direction we’re going,” he said.

“I really like her at a mile and a quarter,” McPeek said. “[That] would be the pro for the Classic. But I also know it’s a deeper race on paper. Another pro would be that she’s going to get a bit of weight off in the Classic as well. So that’s a couple of reasons to go that direction.”

Swiss Skydiver bravely fended off the Kentucky Derby winner Authentic to win the Preakness at Pimlico earlier this month, taking her earnings to $1,792,980 in a year in which she’s won five times in nine starts.

McPeek isn’t concerned that a busy schedule will catch up on the filly at Keeneland, irrespective of the big-race target.

“I don’t have any concerns at all [about fatigue]. We watch her feed tub really close — we watch all our horses’ feed tubs. I think the better they eat, the better they run,” McPeek added..

“She’s been so consistent with that, and we have a relatively uncomplicated routine with her. I think she’s into a nice pattern, and I think she can hold it. I don’t think there’s a concern at all. If she were to ever back out of the feed tub, or if I thought that she was showing some fatigue, then we would certainly skip a race and choose to wait if we needed to.”

Monomoy Girl is the ante-post favourite for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff on November 7th, with Swiss Skydiver next in the market. McPeek knows that rival will be hard to overcome and suggests there’s no ‘easy touch’ in going to the Keeneland meeting, regardless of the final target.

“Monomoy Girl will definitely be the horse to beat in the Distaff, and we know that,” he said. “If we can step up our game, and she’s certainly a top filly, and you wouldn’t think that that race would be easy either, and it’s not supposed to be. We’ve got to study it, and we’ll come to a conclusion soon [on her target].”

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