As one 2020 standout returned to training, another one returned to the shelf – albeit temporarily. Swiss Skydiver hit the track, running for the first time since November’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff, while a report said Maxfield suffered a virus that will keep him out of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational.

Swiss Skydiver returns
In a year of amazing moments, Swiss Skydiver’s Preakness victory was near the top of the list. The standout 4-year-old returned to the track after a two-month break. (Image: AP Photo)

While Swiss Skydiver returned to the track, the Daily Racing Form reported that both Maxfield and Mystic Guide will miss the Pegasus due to a minor virus. The bug apparently made its way through Louisiana’s Fair Grounds, forcing trainers into calling audibles on running their charges again.

In Maxfield’s case, conditioner Brendan Walsh told the DRF that Maxfield was scheduled to resume training Monday. He said the break in training was enough to pull Maxfield out of the Pegasus, which explains why his name wasn’t on the invite list released Sunday.

Walsh told the DRF the 4-year-old Street Sense progeny showed signs of the virus last week. He expects Maxfield to make his 4-year-old debut sometime in early February.

Maxfield Can’t Get Untracked to Show His Talent

This is the latest health setback for a colt who raced twice in 2020 – with a seven-month break in between. Maxfield won the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs in May, but he left the Kentucky Derby trail with a fractured cannon bone suffered during a June workout. After that break, Maxfield returned to the winner’s circle with a decisive Tenacious Stakes victory on Dec. 19 at Fair Grounds.

As for Mystic Guide, trainer Mike Stidham told the DRF the Pegasus is out because Mystic Guide ran a fever and is still coughing. The 4-year-old Ghostzapper colt last ran in October, when he finished second to Happy Saver in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup.

According to the DRF report, Stidham said Mystic Guide – who was walking in his barn on Sunday – should run again at either Oaklawn Park or Fair Grounds sometime this winter.

Swiss Skydiver Returns from Vacation

Swiss Skydiver, meanwhile, returned to training for the first time in nearly two months. She embarked on a jog at the Summerfield Training Center on Monday morning, a prelude to easing her back into serious training later in January.

Kenny McPeek, Swiss Skydiver’s trainer, insisted on the two-month hiatus after his prize filly finished a disappointing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. That was a frustrating end to a remarkable season where Swiss Skydiver won half of her 10 starts. All five were graded stakes and two – the Alabama and the Preakness – were Grade 1s.

Swiss Skydiver’s 4-year-old season plans remain a work in progress, but McPeek and owner Peter Callahan have shown they’re not shy about running her wherever and whenever. Her 10 starts in 2020 came at nine tracks in seven different states: Kentucky (three), Florida (two), New York, California, Arkansas, Maryland, and Louisiana.

Swiss Skydiver on Track to Run at Any Track

She ran twice at Keeneland, including once against the boys in the Blue Grass Stakes. Swiss Skydiver also started at Pimlico in the Preakness, Churchill Downs, Santa Anita, Saratoga, Oaklawn Park, Fair Grounds, and at Tampa Bay Downs.

She’s won six of her 12 lifetime starts, hitting the board 10 times. That’s good for $1,842,980 in career earnings.