Even when she has been standing clear as day in the spotlight, there has always been some sort of shadow clouding Shedaresthedevil’s obvious shine.
Though the daughter of Daredevil prevailed in premier test for sophomore fillies when she captured the 2020 Kentucky Oaks (G1), it was Swiss Skydiver who was crowded the divisional darling on the strength of her indefatigable 3-year-old campaign, highlighted by her historic triumph over eventual Horse of the Year Authentic in last October’s Preakness Stakes (G1).
The role of second fiddle is one Shedaresthedevil has even had to play in the confines of her own shedrow as she has shared a barn with none other than two-time Eclipse Award winner and likely future Hall of Famer, Monomoy Girl.
In addition to the level of prestige Saturday’s Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Stakes at Belmont Park carries, the 1 1/16-miles test for older fillies and mares also represents an opportunity for Shedaresthedevil to end her days of letting others relegate her to a supporting part. With Monomoy Girl currently on the sidelines, the 4-year-old bay filly can stamp herself as the nation’s top distaffer should she prevail in a salty edition of the $500,000 Ogden Phipps on June 5.
The Ogden Phipps is one of seven Grade 1 races on the undercard of the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes (G1), the final leg of the American Triple Crown.
It is fitting that Shedaresthedevil chose a moment when most eyes were elsewhere to first steal focus where her classmates were concerned. Dismissed at 15-1 odds in last year’s Kentucky Oaks, the Brad Cox trainee validated the quiet confidence her barn had when she rolled to a 1 ½-length triumph that day at Churchill Downs.
Following a third-place finish against older fillies in the Juddmonte Spinster (G1) last October, Shedaresthedevil was given the rest of 2020 off to try and prime her to take those big steps forward once the calendar turned. In her two outings thus far in 2021, the filly known as one of kinder members of her barn has been vicious on the track, defeating eventual Grade 1 winner Letruska in the Azeri Stakes (G2) on March 13 and then notching another gate-to-wire victory in the La Troienne Stakes (G1) on April 30.
“She always seems like she never really gets the respect she deserves,” Cox said of Shedaresthedevil. “And we loved her last year in the Kentucky Oaks, I think a lot of people did. But, she kind of just flies under the radar really. She’s a really sweet, kind filly. She’s easy to get along with – a big, beautiful filly but really laid back. She’s really special. But she seems to (be overshadowed).”
Owned by Flurry Racing Stables, Qatar Racing Limited and Big Aut Farms, Shedaresthedevil has won seven of 13 career starts with earnings of $1,807,318.
Champion Swiss Skydiver was slated to be among Shedaresthedevil’s top challengers on Saturday as she headed to Belmont off a third-place finish in the April 17 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1). Unfortunately for the champion daughter of Daredevil, trainer Ken McPeek announced the morning of June 4 she would have to scratch from the Ogden Phipps after spiking a fever.
The defection of Swiss Skydiver marked the second blow to the Phipps field in less than 24 hours as fellow Grade 1 winner Valiance was declared out of the race a day earlier due to an elevated temperature.
With both Swiss Skydiver and Valiance sidelined, the only other Grade 1 winner besides Shedaresthedevil set to start in the now five-horse Ogden Phipps field is Letruska, who edged Monomoy Girl by a nose in the Apple Blossom. Trained by Fausto Gutierrez, Letruska has won three of her last four starts including victories in the 2020 Rampart Stakes (G3) and the 2021 Houston Ladies Classic Stakes (G3).
“She’s doing very well since the Apple Blossom,” Gutierrez said. “She’s trained very well at Keeneland. The first question I had was if she could fit with those kind of mares and she showed in that race that she could. She ran like a champion.”
She doesn’t yet have a Grade 1 win to her credit but Juddmonte’s Bonny South could change that this weekend should the Cox trainee run to her recent works. The 4-year-old daughter of Munnings captured the Doubledogdare Stakes (G3) at Keeneland in her seasonal bow on April 16 and gave champion stablemate Essential Quality all he could handle when the pair worked a bullet five furlongs in :59.40 in company at Churchill Downs on May 29.
“We had other options with her, and she’s just been training tremendously,” said Garrett O’Rourke, general manager of Juddmonte Farms. “She wasn’t always a fantastic workhorse but she’s working much, much better at the moment. I think that final work with Essential Quality was enough to steer (Cox). You know Swiss Skydiver, Shedaresthedevil, she’s meeting horses who last year were just a bit above her but we’re hoping she’s improved a bit and that the pace set up might be good for her because there are some fast horses in there and they’ll all be looking at each other and be afraid to let the other one go. So, we’ll hopefully be doing our best work at the finish.”