Dallas Stewart intends on running Tempers Rising in the Kentucky Oaks next month though the trainer admits that possible rival Swiss Skydiver is ‘by far the best [filly] in the country’.
Tempers Rising, owned by Mark and Nancy Stanley, broke her maiden at Churchill Downs in November on her fifth career start.
She was most recently sighted finishing second in a one-mile allowance optional claiming race at Ellis Park early this month.
The filly currently occupies 11th place on the 2020 Kentucky Oaks leaderboard and, all being well, her trainer wants to see her in that race on September 4th.
“She looks good,” Stewart said. “Her weight looks good, her energy is good. She’s training hard, she hasn’t missed a day.”
Swiss Skydiver put up a hugely promising second behind leading Kentucky Derby contender Art Collector in the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on her most recent outing. She is one of three last-time-out Grade 1 winners in the mix, with Test winner Gamine and Ashland scorer Speech also in line to run in the Kentucky Oaks.
The Kenny McPeek-trained filly Swiss Skydiver is an outstanding candidate for Kentucky Oaks glory at Churchill Downs but her presence won’t be sufficient to put Stewart off running in the race.
“If Kenny’s filly goes, she’s by far the best in the country,” Stewart added. “There’s several other good fillies in there. But we want to give Tempers Rising an opportunity. She’s run well at Churchill, and we’ve been hoping all year long to get into this race.”
The revised racing schedule this year means the Kentucky Oaks is some three months later than scheduled after delays related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Stewart had Tempers Rising ready to roll had the race gone ahead in its traditional first Friday in May slot. He doesn’t feel it is going to cause her a major problem having had to bide her time.
“She ran big in New Orleans [finishing second in the Fair Grounds Oaks],” Stewart said. “We thought we were set up good for the Oaks in May, but things kind of went, as we know. But she’s on track, she’s doing great.”
The Kentucky-based handler is a multiple trainer of Breeders’ Cup winners while he has previously saddled Lemons Forever (2006) to win the Kentucky Oaks. He has twice gone close to winning the Kentucky Derby in his career, with Golden Soul (2013) and Commanding Curve (2014) finishing second in successive renewals of the ‘Run for the Roses’.