05/18/2007 11:00PM

Jerkens does it again

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Allen Jerkens has been knocking off big favorites in big races for 45 years. He did it yet again by saddling Teammate to a hard-fought victory over odds-on Sugar Shake in Saturday's 32nd running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Shuvee Handicap.

Coming off three straight wins, Sugar Shake was the 7-10 choice in her first start since winning the Grade 1 Santa Maria Handicap on Feb. 10, while Teammate ($9.70) was second choice after returning from a five-month layoff to win an allowance prep just 16 days

earlier.

Sugar Shake set fractions of 23.18 and 46.80 seconds under Eibar Coa, with Teammate and Cornelio Velasquez sitting just outside her. Sugar Shake was briefly clear after a half-mile, but Teammate drew alongside around the turn after six furlongs in 1:11.75, and the two raced head and head through midstretch before Teammate edged away to win by a

half-length.

"This is a nice filly," Velasquez said. "I didn't want to let [Sugar Shake] get away. We chased her most of the race, and at the three-sixteenths pole we finally started getting to her. It was a big effort from both

horses."

It was three lengths back to third-place finisher Rahys' Appeal. The order of finish was completed by Silmaril, Last Romance, and Jerkens's other starter, Swap Fliparoo.

Teammate had run second in the Alabama and Gazelle last year, and the Shuvee was her first stakes win since the Grade 2 Bonnie Miss more than 14 months ago. She ran the mile in 1:38.19 on a fast track, and gave Jerkens his fifth win in the Shuvee.

"It worked out good," Jerkens said. "The prep race went good. She broke pretty good, and that helped her. They're tiring today because they were going against the wind for a half-mile. The Ogden Phipps will probably be next. It would be nice for her and her mother to get a

Grade 1."

The Grade 1, $300,000 Phipps will be run at Belmont at 1 1/16 miles on June 16.

Teammate's win prevented Coa, the leading rider at the meet, from sweeping the last five races on the card.