Saturday, July 26, 2014

Saratoga 2014: The Shuvee Handicap - Day 9 of 40

Update - 10:00AM: Well, the rain came and washed the turf racing onto the main track, which has been labeled as "MUDDY".  Bear this in mind when making your picks for Sunday's racing.

At the time of this blog post, the weather is warm.  There's a touch of humidity, but you expect that on the 26th of July.  The sun had been shining for most of the day, with some clouds here and there that didn't really do all that much.

However, also at the time of this blog post, the weather tomorrow is looking rather dicey.  Below is a screenshot of the weather forecast for Saratoga Springs, from the National Weather Service (

Saratoga Springs Weather | National Weather Service |
Now, from what we've heard from our weather expert at News 10, Tim Drawbridge, these are scattered storms and could hit or miss the track.  But it's something that needs to be kept in mind when handicapping the Sunday card, as bad weather could wildly change the ten races on tap.

The Sunday feature on the Pilsner Glass giveaway day is the Shuvee Handicap, a carryover from Belmont Park from before NYRA expanded the Saratoga meet from 36 days to 40.  Seven horses will attempt the 1 1/8 mile distance on the dirt, including morning line favorite Antipathy for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

Race 9: The Shuvee Handicap (G3) - 3YO+ F&M - Purse $200,000 - Post: 5:15PM

Saratoga Entries @ | Equibase
Let's take a look at the field:

SWINGER'S PARTY: She made her debut at Saratoga Race Course in August 2012, finishing 6th.  She would break her maiden at 1 1/16 Miles at Delaware Park her next time out, and has rattled off three victories total.  She has never won in stakes company, and this is her first time in Graded Stakes competition.  She led up until the top of the stretch in her last race, the Nancy's Glitter Stakes at Calder Race Course, and would yield to Angelica Zapata as she would finish 2nd.

FLASHY AMERICAN: Flashy American drops down after finishing a really respectable 3rd in the Delaware Handicap last time out, getting nipped by a familiar Saratoga name in Princess of Sylmar, last year's Alabama and Coaching Club American Oaks winner, at the wire.  Her last trip to the Winner's Circle came at Hawthorne Racecourse in Illinois, winning the Grade 3 Sixty Sails Handicap back in April.  She was last year's runner-up in this race before winning the Ungraded Alada Stakes.  For a horse who broke her maiden through the Maiden Claiming ranks, she has turned her career around to be a respectable stakes runner.

ANTIPATHY: She too has had a run-in with Princess of Sylmar, last time in the Ogden Phipps Stakes at Belmont Park where she, like Flashy American, finished a respectable 3rd, only getting nipped by the second place horse near the wire.  She was only a neck away from race-winner Close Hatches.  That was her first appearance in stakes competition, so she'll appreciate the class drop here.

UNLIMITED BUDGET: After a 9 1/2 length win to break her maiden at Aqueduct in November, her connections immediately began to think about the stakes path, running her to victory in the Demoiselle Stakes, the Rachel Alexandra, and the Fair Grounds Oaks.  She would finish 3rd in the Kentucky Oaks before racing against the boys in the Belmont Stakes last year.  She returned to facing fillies in the Coaching Club American Oaks, finishing 5th, 15 lengths behind Princess of Slymar (hope you've noticed a trend here).  Her last race was a rough ninth-place loss in the Just a Game Stakes race where she fought with the pace through the first five furlongs, then gave way and tired out. She hasn't been able to find the winner's circle since that Fair Grounds Oaks in the Winter of 2013.  What could make her interesting is the connections - she has Javier Castellano on board for trainer Todd Pletcher.

STANWYCK: She visited Saratoga back on July 31st, 2013, when she ran today's distance on the Inner Turf.  In that race, an Allowance, she got forced four-wide on the turn and failed to rally, finishing fifth of the six horses in that race. Since then, she upset the field in the Turnback The Alarm Stakes at Belmont Park, winning in a stretch rally at odds of 21-1.  Her last three races have resulted in three third place finishes, the latest coming in April in the Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park where she finished behind Close Hatches and On Fire Baby.

HOT STONES: In many other situations, Hot Stones would be enjoying another Grade 3 race fresh out of winning her last.  With the talent pool here, this could be harder, especially as Hot Stones win came by a nose over Merry Meadow in the Bed o' Roses Stakes at Belmont Park.  She broke her maiden here at Saratoga Race Course, winning a Maiden on July 31st, 2013 by 4 1/2 lengths over Carla Sweetrevenge at six furlongs.  Her ability to come off the pace may make her a horse to watch, especially if the front-running horses begin to tire out in the stretch.

AMBUSHER: Ambusher's in a tough spot here.  She has yet to win a stakes race, live alone a Graded Stakes race.  As such, she might find herself a little overmatched with the class that is entering this race.  What makes her a tougher bet is that her two wins both came at Canterbury Park in Minnesota, a track that isn't well known for producing stakes runners. In her last race, the Obeah Stakes at Delaware Park, she came off the pace for a rallying third place finish at the same distance today's race is at.
ANALYSIS: There's a lot of class in this race, which will make the outside horses, Hot Stones and Ambusher, tough bets to make.  If they run the race of their lives, then we could see a different situation with those two horses.  Unlimited Budget has the connections to win a big race, and Antipathy and Flashy American both have had respectable runs in higher-classed races.

How this race will fare will depend greatly how that first quarter goes.  If it's a hot quarter, run in less than 23.4, then you might have to watch the late-closers, including the above mentioned Hot Stones and Ambusher.

My Picks: 2-3-6

Mythical Bets
Bankroll Entering Sunday: $87.47
$1 W-P-S 2 ($3)
$2 SHOW 6
$0.50 TRI BOX 2-3-6 ($3)
$0.50 TRI 2/3-2/3-4 ($1)
$1 EX 2-3

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