07/31/2013 5:03PM

Saratoga: Shirreffs has tough start to meet

Barbara D. Livingston
The spot for Eblouissante’s next start is uncertain.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer John Shirreffs' first summer at Saratoga hasn’t gotten off to a very good start.

His first starter, Zenyatta’s baby sister Eblouissante, acted up in the gate as the field was being loaded for the Shuvee, suffering some minor bumps and bruises, was bumped after the break, and ultimately finished sixth and last in her stakes debut. Last Sunday, Shirreffs’ top sprinter, Mentor Cane, finished fourth in the Grade 2 Amsterdam after bearing out badly throughout much of the race.

Shirreffs said both horses emerged from their races in good order, and he is hoping a little time and experience will result in a better experience for both 3-year-olds here later this summer.

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“He came out of the race fine, he’s just green,” Shirreffs of Mentor Cane, who was beaten less than three lengths despite losing significant ground around the turn and into the stretch of the Amsterdam.

“He’s never done that before. Sometimes he’s lugged in a little bit, but he’s never lugged out. I really don’t know why. Racing will help him. He’s a big, strong horse. We’ll just have to make sure that he carries the bit in his mouth and doesn’t grab one side or the other.”

Shirreffs said Mentor Cane will be pointed for the Grade 1 King’s Bishop on Aug. 24.

Eblouissante suffered her first defeat in three starts when she returned from a six-month hiatus in the Shuvee.

“She’s also doing okay, although she’s still a little muscle-sore from falling on her butt,” reported Shirreffs. “She also had a tooth knocked out at the gate, but fortunately it was a temporary tooth. She has a permanent tooth coming in behind.”

Shirreffs said Eblouissante is back galloping on a regular basis, although he is uncertain where or when she may start next.

“I hope to run her here again,” said Shirreffs. “It depends on how quickly she bounces back. Whether she makes her next start in another stakes or an allowance race is something we’ll still have to determine.”

[SARATOGA 2013: Complete meet coverage, exclusive DRF videos]