05/18/2005 11:00PM

Saintliness, Daydreaming in rematch in Shuvee


ELMONT, N.Y. - The Shuvee Handicap has been won by such memorable mares as Lady's Secret, Personal Ensign, Sky Beauty, and Inside Information. By that standard, Saturday's 30th running came up short in terms of quality.

The field for the Grade 2, $200,000 mile race includes , the one-two finishers in Aqueduct's Grade 3 Next Move Handicap; Traci Girl, who was running for $35,000 claiming tags with no takers last summer; Bohemian Girl, who has lost her last four graded stakes by a combined 25 lengths; and multiple Grade 1 winner Society Selection.

, winner of the Frizette, Test, and Alabama, is far and away the most accomplished member of the field. The question is not class, but readiness. After a 111-day layoff following a ninth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, she stumbled badly at the start of the Shirley Jones Handicap three months ago and trailed virtually throughout. She has been out of action ever since.

"She hurt her leg after she stumbled out of the gate," said trainer Allen Jerkens, who has won three of the past 13 Shuvee renewals. "We gave her a lot of time."

Society Selection has been working regularly over the past month, and Wednesday's sizzling five-furlong drill in 58.76 seconds indicates she might be sitting on a big race.

Saintliness and Traci Girl were cross-entered in Friday's $150,000 Pimlico Breeders' Cup Distaff Handicap, but seem more likely to await the Shuvee since they would have to face Ashado for less money and only a Grade 3 designation at Pimlico. Moreover, the front-running Traci Girl drew the unfavorable outside post in the two-turn Distaff.

Kiaran McLaughlin, who trains Saintliness, indicated she is probable for the Shuvee.

"Hopefully, we can lay second, or if we're there the right way we'll be on the lead," he said.

McLaughlin believes that Saintliness, who suffered her first loss in the Next Move after five straight wins, is well-suited to the one-turn Shuvee.

"She has a high cruising speed, it should work out well for her," he said.

Daydreaming, second in the Grade 1 Gazelle the last time she raced at Belmont back in September, has won three stakes in four subsequent starts, including the Grade 2 Top Flight at this distance, and the Next Move against Saintliness despite a three-wide trip.