There’s no doubt about it, Swiss Skydiver‘s upset victory over the boys in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes (G1) was one of the biggest wins that we’ve seen all year. With over 35 stakes from coast to coast this past weekend, we had plenty of great performances from which to choose, but these are who made our Three Stars of the Week:
1. Swiss Skydiver
What a performance from this superstar filly, who became the sixth filly ever to win the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico. Not only did she beat a talented field of 3-year-old males, but she toppled the Kentucky Derby (G1) champion Authentic and gave his trainer Bob Baffert his first Preakness defeat when bringing the Kentucky Derby winner.
Trainer Kenny McPeek raised some eyebrows when he decided to send Swiss Skydiver to the Preakness, especially after she lost the Kentucky Oaks (G1), but his faith was rewarded when she ran the second-fastest Preakness in race history, behind only the G.O.A.T. Secretariat.
The only question now is where she will run in the Breeders’ Cup; the Preakness was a “Win and You’re In” for the Classic, but her connections seem scared of Tiz the Law and the Distaff looks like a much lighter field.
It’s never easy for a horse to beat four Chad Brown turf horses in a Grade 1 race, especially a horse coming from a small barn, but trainer Paulo Lobo’s expert training job on Ivar resulted in him upsetting Saturday’s Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes (G1) at Keeneland. The Brazilian-bred colt was making a giant leap up in class, but he and jockey Joe Talamo look like a perfect match with 2 wins from 3 starts together. Talamo credited Lobo’s decision to remove the blinkers as the reason for Ivar’s improvement. He’s now headed to the Breeders’ Cup after taking this “Win and You’re In” for the Mile (G1).
3. Mo Forza
Speaking of the Breeders’ Cup Mile, Mo Forza stamped himself as one of the likely favorites for the event after putting on a dominating performance in Saturday’s City of Hope Mile Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park. His second start back after a lengthy layoff was even better than his first, when he rolled in the Del Mar Mile Handicap (G2). He’s won 6 of his past 7 starts, with his lone defeat coming in the Pegasus World Cup Turf when he raced without Lasix, so if that was the only cause of his trouble, then he could be a top contender at the World Championships.