Analysis: Champ Swiss Skydiver not the pick in 4-year-old bow

Analysis: Champ Swiss Skydiver not the pick in 4-year-old bow
Photo: John Voorhees

Is it just me or does the 2021 Beholder Mile feel like deja vu all over again?

Swiss Skydiver makes her much anticipated 4-year-old bow at Santa Anita on Saturday and her sophomore campaign sure reminded me of Rachel Alexandra’s.

The latter raced eight times as a 3-year-old in 2009 and she won them all, including victories in the Fantasy Stakes (then a Grade 2), Kentucky Oaks, and Preakness Stakes. Fast forward to 2020 and Swiss Skydiver won half of her ten starts, including victories in the Fantasy Stakes (G3) and Preakness, and a runner-up finish in the Kentucky Oaks.

Rachel Alexandra defeated stakes males three times. Swiss Skydiver was clearly second best in the Blue Grass Stakes (G2) in addition to her aforementioned Preakness score vs. the boys.

Rachel Alexandra lost three of her five starts during her disappointing 4-year-old campaign and was just not the same horse we saw the year before. Swiss Skydiver is not Rachel Alexandra but there are definitely similarities and I would not want to take a short price on her.

Before deciding how to bet the Beholder Mile, let us meet the entire field.

Editor's note: This story has been edited to reflect a report from the Daily Racing Form that Sanenus will scratch from the Beholder Mile. 


No. 1 Swiss Skydiver (8-5) had a grueling, ambitious sophomore campaign last year with 10 starts and five graded wins. Her biggest victory was a gritty score by a neck over Authentic in the Preakness Stakes. Her long campaign finally caught up to her in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, and this is her first start in more than four months. She raced once at Santa Anita last year and captured the Santa Anita Oaks (G2), and she drilled a Gulfstream Park bullet for this engagement March 6. She is more than capable of capturing a race like this but will not offer any value.  

No. 3 Harvest Moon (5-2) had her four-race win streak snapped in a solid fourth-place finish when last seen in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. She did all of the pace dirt work in that salty race and finished in front of Swiss Skydiver that day. She won all four of her dirt routes in California and two of those wins were graded events. Flavien Prat knows her well and Simon Callaghan shows a profit with this type of layoff runner. This might be her best distance. 

Value Win Contender

No. 6 As Time Goes By (4-1) fired in all four starts as the favorite and stylishly won her last two outings. She stretched out and sailed away at this course and distance Jan. 17. Bob Baffert’s daughter of American Pharoah might be able to step up and beat a field like this. 

Live Long Shot

No. 8 Clockstrikestwelve (20-1) won her last five starts vs. lesser, and she is 2-for-2 on dirt. Jonathan Wong’s razor-sharp mare will try to get involved late and needs to run faster in her toughest career test. She might be able to rally for a small slice. 

Remaining Entrants 

No. 2 Golden Principal (8-1) exits back-to-back runner-up finishes in local graded extended sprints for Bob Baffert. Her last win was at this distance at Del Mar last fall, and she should be part of the pace. 

No. 5 Miss Stormy D (20-1) parlayed a stalking trip into a distant runner-up finish in the La Canada and set the pace and ended up finishing fourth in a turf route last time. She looks overmatched. 

No. 7 This Tea (30-1) is back on dirt and that is a good thing, but she is probably over her head in the stakes ranks. She was no match for As Time Goes By Jan. 17. 


No. 3 to Win

Exacta Box 3-6

Superfecta 3-6/1-3-6/1-2-3-6-8/1-2-3-6-8

Super High 5: 3/1-6/1-6/2-8/2-8

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