Billed as a showdown between Gamine and Swiss Skydiver, and to a lesser extent Speech, Friday’s $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) instead went the way of Shedaresthedevil, who posted a 15-1 upset in the 1 1/8-mile event and gave trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux their second Oaks win in three years.
Perfectly positioned in second and outside of odds-on favorite Gamine through fractions of :23.39, :47.92, and 1:12.12, Shedaresthedevil began to apply pressure on Gamine around the far turn. She finally got by that rival in midstretch, and held safe a late run from Swiss Skydiver, who raced on the inside much of the way and had to shift outside to make her own bid, which proved second best.
A distant third in the Fantasy (G3) back in May when last meeting Swiss Skydiver, Shedaresthedevil returned the favor here by 1 1/2 lengths and has now thrown her hat into the ring for the 3-year-old filly championship. She finished up in a stakes-record 1:48.28 over a fast track, eclipsing the old mark by 36 hundredths of a second, and paid $32.20.
Swiss Skydiver finished 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Gamine, who was sent off at 7-10. Speech, Tempers Rising, Hopeful Growth, Bayerness, Donna Veloce, and Dream Marie completed the order of finish.
The Oaks was one of five wins on the day for Geroux, who landed the last three stakes on the card beginning with another tour de force in the La Troienne (G1) by Monomoy Girl, the champion who captured the 2018 Oaks for Cox and Geroux.
“(Shedaresthedevil) has been really impressive coming into the race and when she breezed with Monomoy Girl a couple weeks ago, we knew how well she was training,” Cox said.
Shedaresthedevil is by Champagne (G1) winner Daredevil, as is Swiss Skydiver. She’s owned by Qatar Racing and Flurry Racing Stable, the latter of which purchased her for $280,000 last November at Keeneland after the bay had begun her career 1-for-4.
A maiden win at Churchill for trainer Norm Casse was followed by three starts in Southern California under Simon Callaghan, who saddled the filly to a third in the Sorrento (G2), a fourth in the Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf, and a second in the Anoakia S.
Second to eventual Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) winner and stablemate Bonny South in an Oaklawn allowance in her debut for Cox, Shedaresthedevil subsequently captured the Honeybee (G3) by three parts of a length and then was more than 13 lengths behind Swiss Skydiver in the Fantasy. However, her last two runs were blowout victories over allowance foes at Churchill and in the July 8 Indiana Oaks (G3). She’s now earned $1,245,768.
Bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm, Shedaresthedevil was produced by Starship Warpspeed, by Congrats.