Most of the attention goes to the Kentucky Derby and the
horses along the qualifying trail. Horseplayers can miss out on some great
horses and storylines if they overlook the road to the Kentucky Oaks. For some,
SWISS SKYDIVER may have been an afterthought following her fifth-place finish
in the non-graded Gasparilla Stakes. Nobody would have thought six-months later
SKYDIVER would try to do something no other filly has ever done, win the Blue
Grass Stakes against the boys. She didn't, finishing second to ART COLLECTOR in
a packed field.
SWISS SKYDIVER's strong performance in the Blue Grass Stakes
was no surprise to those who followed her development on the Road to the 2020
Kentucky Oaks. Horseplayers will have a pair of chances today to see which
fillies could have a chance to write their own SWISS SKYDIVER story.
Suncoast Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs
Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita
We are going to look beyond the favorite in each race and
try to uncover upset minded horses that could "come out of nowhere" like SWISS
SKYDIVER following the Gasparilla Stakes. We'll start in Tampa.
GULF COAST (PP: 7 ML 5/2) was the favorite but scratched to
run in Sunday's Ruthless Stakes at Aqueduct (probably to finish second behind a
heavy favorite MISS BRAZIL). The number two choice in the program HONORIFIQUE
(PP: 5 ML 7/2) is also out of the race.
FEELING MISCHIEF (PP: 2 ML 9/2) is likely to takeover
favorite status but she is highly vulnerable. She's stretching out and has
faded on two of her four races; also, not a fan that her fractions were dull in
her last and she still went wobbly legged late.
But we are fans of two ladies in this spot, CURLIN'S CATCH
(PP: 4 ML 6-1) and BE SNEAKY (PP: 8 ML 12-1). CURLIN'S CATCH ran on real dirt for the fist time in her last race after
running her first two on Woodbine's all-weather surface. The daughter of CURLIN
and CATCH THE THRILL appeared to like the surface switch. She ran much faster ½
and ¾ mile fractions in her on Gulfstream's main track. She might be a little
better in the Suncoast in her second effort after a couple of months on the
BE SNEAKY was outrun in her last run, finishing third in the
non-graded Smart Halo Stakes at Laurel Park on November 14, 2020. She's been
training well since for Arnaud Delacour and will try to run a route for the
first time in her return to the track. Delacour is hitting at 31% during the
current Tampa meet and wins at a higher 36% with horses going long for the
The Grade III, Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita is a short
field with a heavy favorite, MOONLIGHT D'ORO (PP: 3 ML 1-1). In our view,
KALYPSO (PP: 2 ML 5/2) is the horse in the field of five with the best chance
to upset the chalk in race three. Jockey Joel Rosario rode her to victory lane
in the Grade II, San Yanez stakes in her last race as the $0.90 favorite. It was her second win in two Santa Anita
outings and the second race following a layoff. We expect her to be better in
the Las Virgenes, making the classic third start off the sidelines. Race three
in her only other three race cycle was the best of the trio.
The Suncoast and Las Virgenes winners will put some Kentucky
Oaks qualifying points on the books and maybe, just maybe move to the forefront
of Oaks pack and horseplayers' minds.