Shifman: Swiss Skydiver and Gamine tied in top 3-year-old poll

Shifman: Swiss Skydiver and Gamine tied in top 3-year-old poll
Photo: Dom Napolitano/NYRA

In the latest NTRA Top 3-year-old Poll, it seems appropriate that the two best 3-year-old fillies, Swiss Skydiver and Gamine, tied for fifth position as the only fillies ranked among the eight best males in that age group.

Swiss Skydiver and Gamine were both recent runaway winners of prestigious Grade 1 races at Saratoga. The connections of both fabulous fillies have confirmed that they will settle the question of which of the two is best when they meet on the first Friday in September in the Kentucky Oaks.

Let’s warm up the debate by taking a look at the resumes of the two fillies, which are currently very hard to separate as the top two sophomore females.

Swiss Skydiver, who is long on experience and accomplishments, will cut back in distance after easily dispatching the field in the 10-furlong Alabama (G1).

The Kenny McPeek trainee was a bargain purchase when she sold for only $35,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale. Her career record is 9: 5-2-1 with earnings of $952,980. She was a debut winner at Churchill Downs in November, but she did not win a stakes race until her fifth start, scoring in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) in March at odds of 9.10-1. From there, it was two more graded stakes victories in the Fantasy (G3) at Oaklawn Park and the Santa Anita Oaks (G2) on the West Coast.

Even with the busy schedule and the travel across the country, McPeek put Swiss Skydiver in the Blue Grass (G2). She set the pace and yielded to only one of the boys — and that was Art Collector, the current second choice for the Kentucky Derby.

Her win in the Alabama was her first Grade 1 score going a classic distance while earning her best Beyer Speed Figure of 102.

Gamine, on the other hand, has a shorter resume and will have to stretch back out in distance after racing around one turn in the Acorn (G1) and the Test (G1).

The Bob Baffert runner was first sold for $220,000 as a Keeneland yearling and then went for $1.8 million as a 2-year-old. Her record officially stands at 4: 3-0-0 with $363,000 in earnings. Gamine did cross the finish line in first all four of her starts but was disqualified from an Oaklawn Park allowance win after a medication violation.

Gamine burst onto the scene in March of this year with her maiden victory by more than six lengths at odds of .10-1 at Santa Anita. Her wins in New York produced a 110 and a 108, which are two of the three highest Beyer Speed Figures by any 3-year-old in the country, male or female.

Their recent impressive victories caused racing fans across the country to call for these two fillies to take a chance in the Kentucky Derby. McPeek thought about it, but Baffert publicly did not consider racing against the boys.

It seems fitting that these two fillies will settle the question on the big stage in the Kentucky Oaks. If all goes as planned, we’ll have an answer in less than three weeks.


 Consensus 3-year-old Top 10

 Matt Shifman's 3-year-old Top 10

 1. Tiz the Law (38)

 1. Tiz the Law

 2. Art Collector

 2. Authentic

 3. Honor A.P.

 3. Art Collector

 4. Authentic

 4. Honor A.P.

 5T. Swiss Skydiver

 5. Swiss Skydiver

 5T. Gamine

 6. Gamine

 7. Thousand Words

 7. Ny Traffic

 8. King Guillermo

 8. Thousand Words

 9. Ny Traffic

 9. King Guillermo

 10. Caracaro

 10. Max Player


Meet Matt Shifman

Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently is a Senior Writer. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs, Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing

Matt has been a co-host of the popular weekly video show HorseCenter for many years.

Since 2012, Matt has been a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.

Matt is also a partner in the New York Hot List handicapping service @NYHotList where he handicaps the races on the NYRA circuit everyday. The Hot List picks are available at several ADW sites around the country.

You may also know Matt by his Twitter, Facebook, and HRN screen nameAndyScoggin.

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