Betting Against Swiss Skydiver in the Blue Grass Stakes

Gambling
Swiss Skydiver is the morning-line favorite for the Blue Grass Stakes as she takes on males in pursuit of Kentucky Derby qualifying points. (Coady Photography)

Racing at Keeneland during the summer? In a normal year such an occurrence would be unprecedented, but 2020 has been far from a normal year. Prompted by COVID-19, the inaugural summer meet at Lexington’s historic racetrack will feature 10 graded stakes races over the course of three days, led by the $600,000 Grade 2 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes on Saturday.

weekend Television schedule

Wednesday, July 8: post time varies on TVG

Thursday, July 9: 1-6 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Friday, July 10: 1-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Saturday, July 11: 1-6:30 p.m. ET on FS2; post time varies on TVG

Sunday, July 12: 12:30–2 p.m. ET on FS1; 2-5 p.m. ET on FS2; 5–7 p.m. ET on NBCSN; post time varies on TVG

The 1 1/8-mile road to the Kentucky Derby prep race has drawn a large field of 13 horses, all vying for the 170 Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve qualifying points at stake for the top four finishers. Even a filly has entered the fray, with the connections of Triple Crown nominee #7 Swiss Skydiver electing to take on males in Keeneland’s signature race.

Far from being overmatched, Swiss Skydiver is the 3-1 morning line favorite in the Blue Grass after rattling off consecutive victories in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks, Grade 3 Fantasy Stakes, and Grade 2 Santa Anita Oaks. With 310 Longines Kentucky Oaks qualification points under her belt, Swiss Skydiver has already locked up a spot in the starting gate for the “run for the lilies.” Now her connections are keen to see if she can secure a spot in the Derby field as well.

Swiss Skydiver is certainly a good fit on paper for the Blue Grass Stakes. She’s already beaten most of North America’s top 3-year-old fillies, and in terms of Brisnet Speed ratings she’s pretty much as fast or faster than her male rivals with figures of 100 and 101 to her credit. A front-runner also capable of tracking the pace, Swiss Skydiver has the tactical speed to work out a clean, forwardly-placed trip under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith.

There’s plenty to like about Swiss Skydiver, and she’s been training sharply in recent weeks. But the Blue Grass will mark her toughest test to date, and as the morning-line favorite, she isn’t necessarily the best play from a wagering standpoint.

There are plenty of logical alternatives to Swiss Skydriver. The speedy #1 Shivaree battled to a runner-up effort behind Tiz the Law in the Mar. 28 Grade 1 Florida Derby, a performance flattered when Tiz the Law came back to dominate the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes. #8 Basin dominated the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga as a juvenile and enters off a runner-up effort in the first division of the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby. And #12 Enforceable finished third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland last fall before enjoying a strong winter campaign at Fair Grounds, rallying to win the Grade 3 Lecomte Stakes and finish second in a division of the Grade 2 Risen Star.

But rather than place my faith in runners who possibly peaked during the winter and/or spring, I’m going to take a shot with two up-and-comers seemingly poised for career-best efforts: #3 Art Collector and #10 Rushie.

Indeed, I’m quite excited by Art Collector, a stoutly-bred son of 2006 Grade 1 Preakness Stakes winner Bernardini. Art Collector showed promise as a juvenile, crossing the wire first in two of his five starts while competing on both dirt and turf, but he’s raised his game to a different level this season. Under the care of trainer Thomas Drury Jr., Art Collector has gone 2-for-2, rallying to defeat stakes-caliber rivals in an allowance sprint at Churchill Downs before stretching out over 1 1/16 miles and dominating another Churchill allowance race by 6 1/2 lengths.

The latter effort was noteworthy on a number of levels. Not only did Art Collector finish fast, sprinting the final five-sixteenths of a mile in a sensational :28.89, he posted a strong 103 Brisnet Speed rating while trouncing a quality field of rivals. Distant runner-up Shared Sense returned to win the Grade 3 Indiana Derby on Wednesday, while third-place finisher #2 Finnick the Fierce is a Grade 1-placed runner slated to join Art Collector in the Blue Grass field.

Art Collector made a fantastic visual impression as well, running straight as an arrow down the stretch while seemingly eager to do more. With his tactical speed and versatility, Art Collector figures to secure an ideal trip stalking Shivaree and perhaps Swiss Skydiver through the early going. From there, Art Collector’s powerful finishing kick can carry him to the winner’s circle.

As for Rushie, he competed admirably against tough company throughout the winter/spring and enters the Blue Grass off a game third-place effort in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, beaten just four lengths in a fast time. This effort yielded a 103 Brisnet Speed rating, so Rushie has the talent to vie for victory if he reproduces his last run.

Art Collector and Rushie are both 5-1 on the morning line, offering the potential for lucrative payoffs. We’ll favor Art Collector on top while strongly emphasizing Rushie for second and third place in a pair of trifectas:

Wagering Strategy on a $15 Budget

$12 to win on #3 Art Collector

What to say at the betting window: Keeneland, 9th race, $12 to win on 3

$3 exacta: 3 with 10

What to say at the betting window: Keeneland, 9th race, $3 exacta: 3 with 10

Wagering Strategy on a $30 Budget

$12 to win on #3 Art Collector

What to say at the betting window: Keeneland, 9th race, $12 to win on 3

$1.50 trifecta: 3 with 10 with 1,2,5,7,12,13 ($9)

What to say at the betting window: Keeneland, 9th race, $1.50 trifecta: 3 with 10 with 1,2,5,7,12,13

$1.50 trifecta: 3 with 1,2,5,7,12,13 with 10 ($9)

What to say at the betting window: Keeneland, 9th race, $1.50 trifecta: 3 with 1,2,5,7,12,13 with 10

Good luck, and enjoy the race!

2020 Toyota Blue Grass S.
July 11th, 2020

Winning Time: 1:48.11
  • Purse: $600,000
  • Distance: 1 1/8 Miles
  • Age: 3 yo
  • Surface: Dirt
  • Winning Time: 1:48.11
Results
Win
Place
Show
1st
3 Art Collector
$6.60
$4.00
$3.20
2nd
7 Swiss Skydiver
$4.20
$3.40
3rd
10 Rushie
$4.00
4th
12 Enforceable
5th
9 Attachment Rate
6th
4 Mr. Big News
7th
2 Finnick the Fierce
8th
13 Tiesto
9th
6 Hard Lighting
10th
8 Basin
11th
1 Shivaree
12th
11 Hunt the Front
13th
5 Man in the Can
Payoff
Pick 3
6-4-3
6-4-3
$21
Pick 4
13-6-4-3
13-6-4-3
$335
Pick 5
4/5-13-6-4-3
4/5-13-6-4-3
$6
Pick 5
4/5-13-6-4-3
4/5-13-6-4-3
$361
Pick 6
2-4/5-13-6-4-3
2-4/5-13-6-4-3
$6,345
Pick 6
2-4/5-13-6-4-3
2-4/5-13-6-4-3
$55
Daily Double
4-3
4-3
$6
Exacta
3-7
3-7
$12
Super High Five Jackpot
3-7-10-12-9
3-7-10-12-9
$843
Superfecta
3-7-10-12
3-7-10-12
$44
Trifecta
3-7-10
3-7-10
$31
Race Replay
Play
Payoff
Pick 3
6-4-3
6-4-3
$21
Pick 4
13-6-4-3
13-6-4-3
$335
Pick 5
4/5-13-6-4-3
4/5-13-6-4-3
$6
Pick 5
4/5-13-6-4-3
4/5-13-6-4-3
$361
Pick 6
2-4/5-13-6-4-3
2-4/5-13-6-4-3
$6,345
Pick 6
2-4/5-13-6-4-3
2-4/5-13-6-4-3
$55
Daily Double
4-3
4-3
$6
Exacta
3-7
3-7
$12
Super High Five Jackpot
3-7-10-12-9
3-7-10-12-9
$843
Superfecta
3-7-10-12
3-7-10-12
$44
Trifecta
3-7-10
3-7-10
$31

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