In an epic duel with AUTHENTIC, the lone filly in the field showed that she was a force to be reckoned with. SWISS SKYDIVER, ridden by Robby Albarado, solidified her place in history, one that goes back to 1903, with the likes of RACHEL ALEXANDRA, NELLIE MORSE, RHINE MAIDEN, WHIMSICAL and FLOCARLINE.
The race started out exactly as AUTHENTIC needed and in the fashion that won him the Derby. He got to the front with stablemate THOUSAND WORDS and the pair set the pace. However, he never quite got the lead he needed and that may have been the problem. The early fractions were :24.48 and :47.65.
SWISS SKYDIVER, on the other hand, rated behind THOUSAND WORDS on the rail. When THOUSAND WORDS ran out of steam, she took his place on the rail dueling with AUTHENTIC all the way home. "That's a good filly. He had every chance to get by her. He got beat. He just couldn't get by her. She dug in. She's tough," said Baffert to the filly, who took the win by a head. The final time was a fast 1:53.28, the second-fastest Preakness since SECRETARIAT.
SWISS SKYDIVER, by DAREDEVIL, was a $35,000 yearling purchase for Kenneth McPeek at Keeneland in 2018. She has two Grade 1 wins and had already secured a "Win and You're In" to the Breeders' Cup Distaff when she won the Alabama at Saratoga. She is now 6-3-1 in 11 starts with $1,792,980. The Preakness is a Breeders' Cup Challenge event for the Longines Breeders' Cup Classic for the first time ever, to which McPeek responded, "Wow."
Photo: Jerry Dzierwinski