At the 2018 Keeneland September yearling sale, the average selling price was just over $128,000.  The then-unnamed Swiss Skydiver sold for $35,000, or 27% of the average.  Fast forward to October 2020 at Pimlico Race Course.  The largely overlooked filly at the Keeneland sale became the sixth filly in history to win the Preakness Stakes.  She beat 10 colts in the process, including the 2020 Kentucky Derby winner Authentic. Thousand Words, who was purchased for $1 million at the 2018 Keeneland yearling sale, trailed far behind Swiss Skydiver in eighth place.

The underdog story gets even better.  Robby Albarado, Swiss Skydiver’s jockey, got the mount because her regular jockey, Tyler Gaffalione, elected to ride at Keeneland and Mike Smith then also turned down the mount.  In fact, Albarado reportedly was told by Kenny McPeek, Swiss Skydiver’s trainer, to be on stand-by in case Smith said no to his offer.  Albarado was like the lucky guy who got to escort a Cinderella to the high school prom only after supposedly cooler choices for escorts were too busy.

Then there is Swiss Skydiver’s purportedly unfashionable family connections.  Her sire, Daredevil, was held in such low esteem by American breeders that he was exported to stand at stud at the Jockey Club of Turkey Stud Farm for a fee of “private treaty.”  Daredevil is also the sire of Shedaresthedevil, the filly who beat her half sister Swiss Skydiver in the prestigious Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs in September.  Shedaresthedevil received a bid of $20,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September yearling sale, which was refused by her consignor. 

Hope springs eternal in horse racing…and with good reason.

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