By Jim Freer
There will be only nine horses in the Kentucky Oaks, to be run on Saturday at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.
The post position draw was held on Monday, with the Gulfstream Park Oaks winner Swiss Skydiver getting the rail in post 1.
Swiss Skydiver (photo on home page) is the 8-5 second choice in the morning line for the Kentucky Oaks (Grade 1) which is 1 1//8 miles on dirt for 3-year-old fillies.
Gamine, the even-money morning line favorite, drew post 5.
The one hole can be a disadvantage, with the prospect of being boxed in on the run to the first turn in the Kentucky Oaks.
But Swiss Skydiver’s owner Peter Callahan, who lives in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and trainer Ken McPeek are not overly concerned.
“When we first saw it (post 1), we all almost fell out of our chairs,” said Callahan, who watched the draw on the Internet while visiting relatives in Westchester County, N.Y.
“But now I’m thinking ‘she has speed and it’s the shortest distance between two points,'” he told HorseRacingFLA in a phone interview.
In an interview on the Churchill Downs video stream, McPeek said he expects that Swiss Skydiver will be able to avoid early trouble.
Tyler Gaffalione will ride Swiss Skydiver in the Kentucky Oaks. He rode her to victory in the 1 1/4 Alabama Stakes (Grade 1) at Saratoga on Aug. 15.
Swiss Skydiver, a daughter of Daredevil, also won this year’s Fantasy Stakes (Grade 3) at Oaklawn Park and Santa Anita Oaks.
Gamine this summer had fast gate-to-wire wins in the one mile Acorn (Grade 1) at Belmont Park and seven-furlong Test (Grade 1) at Saratoga. The Acorn was the longest race thus far for the Bob Baffert trainee.
Post time for the Kentucky Oaks will be 5:45 p.m. on Saturday. It will be televised live on the NBC Sports Network cable channel.
Here is the field–with jockeys, trainers and morning line odds
1. Swiss Skydiver, Tyler Gaffalione, Kenny McPeek, 8-5
2. Tempers Rising, Dallas Stewart, Julien Leparoux, 50-1
3. Donna Veloce, Simon Callaghan, Ricardo Santana Jr., 15-1
4. Speech, Michael McCarthy, Javier Castellano, 5-1
5. Gamine, Bob Baffert, John Velazquez, 1-1
6. Bayerness, Cherie DeVaux, Rafael Bejarano, 50-1
7. Shedaresthedevil, Brad Cox, Florent Geroux, 20-1
8. Hopeful Growth, Anthony Margotta, Manny Franco, 30-1
9. Dream Marie, Matthew Williams, Joe Talamo, 50-1