Updated on 09/17/2011 12:10PM

Few obstacles for Shake You Down

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Jean Raftery
Mike Luzzi will ride heavy favorite Shake You Down in Sunday's $200,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Mike Luzzi had just one concern on Friday morning when he looked ahead to Sunday's $200,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap, a six-furlong race in which he will ride heavy favorite Shake You Down.

"Does [Todd] Pletcher have anything in that race?" Luzzi asked.

Actually, Pletcher - who recorded his meet-leading 21st and 22nd victories on Friday - is sitting this one out.

Thus, Luzzi should be sitting pretty when he climbs aboard Shake You Down, who aims for his sixth straight victory - and fourth consecutive graded stakes win - in the Grade 2 Vanderbilt at Saratoga. Scott Lake, who claimed Shake You Down for $65,000 in March, has been the trainer for all five victories.

Luzzi has been aboard Shake You Down for his three stakes victories, including a neck win in the True North Breeders' Cup on June 7 and an 8 1/4-length score in the Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder on July 12. Luzzi said the narrow margin of victory in the True North was the result of his not knowing the horse that well.

"He got away from me a tad," Luzzi said. "I learned something from that race."

As quickly as Shake You Down runs his opening quarter, Luzzi said the key to the gelding's success is how fast he runs his second quarter. In each of his three stakes wins, Shake You Down has run a second quarter in 22.60 seconds.

"He'll put anything in front of him away, and the ones that are behind him are chasing and have got too much to do," Luzzi said.

Shake You Down carries 123 pounds, and will concede 5 to 11 pounds to his six rivals.

The horses with the most speed in this field are Mike's Classic, who makes his stakes debut after winning two allowance races at Belmont, and Najran, who equaled the world record for one mile when winning the Westchester at Belmont on May 7. Najran has been disappointing in his last two starts but is 2 for 2 at Saratoga.

Mountain General, who has a win and a second at Saratoga, is an upset candidate. A 5-year-old gelded son of Mountain Cat, Mountain General altered course and rallied up the rail to win the Grade 3 Aristides Handicap on June 21 at Churchill Downs. The horse he beat, Beau's Town, returned to win the Grade 2 Bing Crosby Breeders' Cup Handicap at Del Mar.

"He's a nice, solid little horse that has run well at Saratoga in the past who's coming off a very nice win," trainer Steve Asmussen said of Mountain General. "I wish it would have been cooler for him; he doesn't love the heat."