The big race in America this Friday is the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks over 1m 1f and Swiss Skydiver looks a value play against the market leader.
Trained by Kevin McPeek, this daughter of Daredevil has won the Gulfstream Park and Santa Anita equivalents of this. Both of those wins were in fine style and decisive fashion.
In between those efforts, Swiss Skydiver also landed a Grade 3 contest at Oaklawn Park. She then stepped outside of her own sex and chased home Kentucky Derby contender Art Collector in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.
It’s not everyday stateside that three-year-old fillies take on the boys at that stage of the season. When back against fellow females in the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga last time out, Swiss Skydiver won easing down.
The Kentucky Oaks has been her target for some time. Swiss Skydiver is streetwise and stays further, so there are no stamina doubts.
At the odds on offer for this Fillies’ Triple Crown event, then, she appeals most. Side with Swiss Skydiver whose speed compares favorably with her main market rival.
Bob Baffert has trained three previous Kentucky Oaks winners, so Gamine looks a huge danger. This filly by Into Mischief has won consecutive Grade 1s this year.
In the first of those, the Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park, she destroyed the opposition. Gamine made all and rapidly extended her lead over 1m for an impressive 19-length success.
She had no problem backing that up in the Test Stakes at Saratoga either. Again, Gamine flew out of the gate and forged clear when John Velazquez shook her reins.
On those scintillating victories, she has every right to head the Kentucky Oaks betting. What Gamine has beaten in those two romps, however, is debatable.
She was sent off odds-on on both occasions, so victory was the expectation. This demands more and, for all Gamine is open to plenty of further progress, she may not have things all her own way.
There is also little value in her price once again. On that basis, she may be worth opposing. A Kentucky Oaks and Derby double with Gamine and Tiz The Law is a potential punt if you want to boost her odds.
The remainder have plenty to find on the first two, but Donna Veloce goes well fresh and beat Speech in Grade 3 company in March. It doesn’t make sense that Simon Callaghan’s charge is a much bigger price.
Although Speech has since won the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes, Donna Veloce’s victory over her can be upgraded. She stumbled leaving the gates, but recovered and quickened clear when in front for a comfortable success.
Donna Veloce is by Uncle Mo and has never been out of the first two in four career starts. She also represents the best of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies form.
As Donna Veloce has placed twice at the highest level and won her sole start this season, she is a consistent sort. The Kentucky Oaks demands more, but she shouldn’t be trading at two-and-a-half times the price of Speech on form.
Therefore, Donna Veloce could make the frame. She does need a career best to be involved in the finish, but could snatch minor honors and show.