Seattle Smooth heads six-horse field in Shuvee
Mercedes Stables LLC's SEATTLE SMOOTH (Quiet American) will try for her fourth straight stakes victory in Saturday's 34th running of the $150,000 Shuvee H. (G2) for fillies and mares going a mile on Belmont Park's main track. Last August, the bay filly won the Go for Wand S. at Delaware Park; the following month she scored in the Cotillion S. (G2) at Philadelphia Park, and last month she ran away with the Bed o' Roses H. (G2), winning by 5 3/4 lengths at Aqueduct.
The only question remaining for trainer Tony Dutrow is whether she'll tackle the course at Belmont with the same zeal.
"The 'Big Sandy' is not for everyone," Dutrow said. "But she handled Saratoga well, she handled Aqueduct well, she handled Delaware and Philadelphia well. I've been very happy with her so far, I just hope she likes it."
Although just six fillies and mares will go postward for the Shuvee, Dutrow doesn't expect the short field will hinder his filly.
"She went seven-eighths last time in a short field," Dutrow said of Seattle Smooth, who will carry top weight of 120 pounds. "I was taking a 'Let's just see how this goes,' approach and she was in striking position the entire race. With a short field going a little longer, I don't feel it's an issue."
Despite her easy victory in the Bed o' Roses, Dutrow felt Seattle Smooth was not at her best in the race, her first start as a four-year-old on the heels of a seven-month layoff. Going into the Shuvee, he says she's been training "very, very well," and while cautiously optimistic, he's not getting too far ahead of himself.
"The longer you've been around, you know how difficult it is to win a race, any race, but we feel our filly is going into it good and healthy and we're looking forward to running her at Belmont," Dutrow said.
D. Wayne Lukas, one of three Hall of Fame trainers represented in the Shuvee, will saddle Briland Farms' COLOR ME UP (Aptitude), a four-year-old bay seeking her first victory since January. In four starts this year, all at Oaklawn Park, Color Me Up was third in an overnight stakes, seventh in the Azeri S. (G3) and fifth in the Apple Blossom H. (G1) on April 4.
Nick Zito, who was ushered into the Hall of Fame in 2005, saddles Tomisue Hilbert's STRIKING TOMISUE (Smart Strike), who was fifth in last year's Shuvee after racing close up to the pace. The bay mare most recently finished fourth in the Rampart S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park on March 29. Coming out of Hall of Famer Allen Jerkens' barn is Fernando Abreu's GRANTED TIGER (Tiger Ridge), who will be making her first stakes start. In three previous appearances at Belmont Park, she has one victory and one second, both on the turf. In her lone start on the dirt here, she was fifth in an allowance last May.
Trainer Todd Pletcher sends Darley Stable's SEA CHANTER (War Chant) out in only her second start on dirt. Winner of the 2007 Miesque S. (G3) on Hollywood Park's turf course, Sea Chanter was second in the Rampart in her main track debut. Rounding out the field is C.P. Racing Stables' ARE WE DREAMIN (Yes It's True), runner-up in the Bed o' Roses to Seattle Smooth.
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