07/20/2013 9:32AM

Steven Crist's Saratoga graded stakes analysis: Shuvee Handicap


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The Grade 3 Shuvee Handicap at Saratoga on Saturday appears to be at the mercy of Authenticity, whose last two Beyer Speed Figures of 103 and 102 dwarf anything her rivals have posted. She achieved those figures amid contested paces in the La Troienne and Phipps, and today she appears capable of setting softer fractions on her own. Add in the likely absence of Summer Applause, who was expected to scratch in order to run in the Delaware Handicap, and you are probably looking at Authenticity as a very likely winner at a very short price.

Much of the race’s intrigue centers on the presence of Eblouissante, and while I’m as intrigued as the next fella by the presence of a half-sister to Zenyatta, I think she’ll be badly overbet because of her lineage. Without that connection to the 2010 Horse of the Year, Eblouissante would probably be 10-1 or 15-1 on the Shuvee morning line: She is making only her third start and her stakes debut and hasn’t been out since January. Instead, she was 7-2 on the morning line and could go off even lower in the absence of Summer Applause.

So it might pay to look at the exactas of Authenticity over the four others in the race and take a stand against the Authenticity-Eblouissante combo. I’m going to take a little shot trying to get 15-1 Royal Lahaina to run second or third.

Do keep an eye on the weather: There are scattered thunderstorms in the forecast, and here at Saratoga, that can mean a sudden shift to a sea of slop.

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