Updated on 07/20/2013 11:42PM

Saratoga: Authenticity, Eblouissante to meet in Shuvee

Barbara D. Livingston
Authenticity will avoid having to travel six hours by van in hot, humid weather and a meeting with Royal Delta in the Delaware Handicap by staying put at Saratoga for the Shuvee.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Authenticity will be given another opportunity to win a Grade 1, but it won’t be this weekend.

After giving himself the choice of running Saturday in either the Grade 1, $750,000 Delaware Handicap or the Grade 3, $200,000 Shuvee Handicap at Saratoga, trainer Todd Pletcher chose the latter in part because Authenticity figures to be a pretty strong favorite in the 1 1/8-mile Shuvee.

In the end, Pletcher said the “extreme heat” that has plagued the Northeast convinced him to keep the 6-year-old Authenticity at Saratoga rather than put her on a van for a six-hour ride to face champion Royal Delta in the Delaware Handicap. Also, a start in the Shuvee gives Authenticity a race over the track as a prep for the Grade 1 Personal Ensign here Aug. 25.

“It’s more about the conditions and probably being the favorite here versus being second choice there,” Pletcher said. “Maybe by having a race over the track, it’ll set her up well for the Personal Ensign.”

Away from the races for 18 months, Authenticity has two wins and two seconds from five starts this year. She was a front-running winner of the Grade 2 La Troienne at Churchill Downs on May 3 before getting run down in the stretch by Tiz Miz Sue in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont on May 27.

“It was a big effort; thought for a moment she was going to get that big Grade 1 win,” said Pletcher, who trains Authenticity for Padua Stables. “Tiz Miz Sue has been a tough filly to beat over the years. We were really pleased with the way Authenticity ran.”

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Authenticity will break from the outside post in what was originally a seven-horse field. However, Summer Applause will scratch to run in the Delaware Handicap.

Eblouissante, the undefeated half-sister to champion Zenyatta, was cross-entered in a second-level allowance race on Monday that did not fill, but trainer John Shirreffs said Friday that he had pretty much decided to run her in the Shuvee anyway.

“We’ve kind of pointed to it,” Shirreffs said. “It’s hard to change direction when you’re pointing for a race.”

Eblouissante has not run since January, when she won a first-level allowance race at Santa Anita. She missed the Santa Margarita at Santa Anita in March because Shirreffs wasn’t happy with how she had trained leading up to it.

After she shipped to New York from California in April, Eblouissante was dehydrated, which forced her to miss some training time and subsequently the Ogden Phipps.

“She’s really matured a lot; she’s really developed in the sense of her shoulder and her girth,” Shirreffs said when asked how Eblouissante looks now compared to January. “She’s put on probably 50 pounds. She’s a stronger, larger horse than she was back then.”

Flashy American, trained by Ken McPeek, has won two straight races, including the Iowa Distaff on June 28. She has won her last four races contested around two turns, including an off-the-turf race at 1 1/8 miles here last July, albeit for a maiden-claiming price of $25,000.

Joel Rosario rides Flashy American from post 2.

Sea Island, trained by Shug McGaughey, also owns a win over this track, that coming in a second-level allowance race last July. She has not won since, though she finished second in the then-Grade 1 Gazelle at Aqueduct last November. She is coming out of a last-place finish in the Mariensky Stakes at Belmont, a race run over a sloppy track.

“I don’t have the answer for her race in the slop,” McGaughey said. “She’s trained excellent since. Whether she’s that kind or not we’ll have to wait and see. She has run good over this track.”

Royal Lahaina has won four of her last five starts, including the Mariensky. Jose Ortiz rides for trainer Rudy Rodriguez.

Moon Philly, who had finished first or second in seven straight starts from last September to February, is coming off two subpar performances in the Allaire DuPont Distaff at Pimlico and the Lighthouse Stakes at Monmouth.

The Shuvee goes as race 9 on an 11-race card that also includes the Grade 1, $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks.