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It takes a lot to upstage a marquee Kentucky Derby (G1) prep race, especially when there’s only one prep all weekend, but the 2020 Champion 3-Year-Old Filly Swiss Skydiver might have stolen the show in her first start of the year. How did her performance stack up against the rest of the competition from across the country? Find out in our latest Three Stars of the Week:
Trainer Kenny McPeek deserves praise for having Swiss Skydiver ready to win Saturday’s Beholder Mile Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park. After a grueling 2020 campaign that saw her compete all year long against the very best 3-year-olds of both genders (she beat the boys in last fall’s Preakness Stakes [G1]), she took several months off and only recorded five workouts before shipping across the country to face a salty group of older fillies and mares at a distance that is likely too short for her to do her absolute best. None of that mattered, though, because Swiss Skydiver was clearly the most talented horse in the race. Afterward, McPeek hinted that hunting the two-time and defending Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) winner was on the table for her next start. Race fans, cross your fingers!
Hours before Swiss Skydiver made her triumphant return, last year’s Kentucky Oaks (G1) champion Shedaresthedevil won her seasonal debut in Saturday’s Azeri Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park, though she had to work much harder than her counterpart out west. She broke on top and set the tempo after the favored Letruska (the expected pacesetter) was slow to leave her own gate. That enabled Shedaresthedevil to hold off Letruska by a head on the wire and get a great start on what could hopefully become a stellar 2021 – though don’t get your hopes up about facing her Brad Cox stablemate Monomoy Girl anytime soon.
To the surprise of almost nobody, Tough Luck Bob shipped to Oaklawn Park for the Rebel Stakes (G2) and won. In fact, he sent two to Arkansas and hit the barn exacta as Concert Tour beat Hozier and a cast of six others. Baffert winning an Oaklawn Park Derby prep isn’t exactly news, but this son of 2007 Kentucky Derby champ Street Sense was visually impressive stretching out for the first time. His pedigree suggests that further distances shouldn’t be an issue, so expect to see Concert Tour to return for the Arkansas Derby (G1) on April 10, where he’ll likely be favored.
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