Pletcher’s Saratoga winners doing well; ‘Ebby’ banged up
Trainer Todd Pletcher reported Sunday morning that both Grade 1 Coaching Club American
Oaks winner Princess of Sylmar and Grade 3 Shuvee Handicap victress Authenticity emerged
from their efforts in good order.
The duo swept the graded contests at Saratoga on Saturday for Pletcher, with
Princess of Sylmar romping by six lengths under Javier Castellano in the CCA
Oaks and Authenticity posting a length score in the Shuvee with John Velazquez
aboard. Authenticity was cross-entered to the Delaware Handicap on Saturday but
proved her connections chose the correct race in which to run her with the
Next up for Princess of Sylmar likely will be the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama on August 17
at Saratoga. Authenticity remains on target for the following weekend’s Grade 1,
Personal Ensign Invitational on August 25, where she will likely face dual
champion Royal Delta, who dominated the Del ‘Cap by 10 3/4 lengths.
“Obviously, if the Royal Delta that ran yesterday shows up in the Personal
Ensign, we’re all running for second,” Pletcher stated. “We’ll give it a try
Trainer John Shirreffs said Sunday morning that Eblouissante emerged
from her last-place run in the Shuvee with minor injuries after acting up
in the starting gate.
“She got banged up, but it’s all pretty superficial,” the horseman
explained. “She broke
two teeth and grabbed herself in a couple spots on her legs, but nothing really
“I feel really lucky that she didn’t seriously injure herself. I think that’s a
credit to the assistant starter, who kept her from flipping over and getting
underneath the gate. It was a bad situation but not a tragedy.”
Owned by Maverick Racing, the four-year-old half-sister to Horse of
the Year Zenyatta was making her stakes debut in the Shuvee, her first start in
189 days following an optional claiming victory on January 17 at Santa Anita.
Ridden by Rosie Napravnik, subbing for jockey Junior Alvarado who was banged up
earlier on Saturday’s card, Eblouissante bumped with Moon Philly after leaving
the gate and ran at the back of the pack, finishing last of six.
“For her, it was (over at the start). She lost all her focus and everything,” Shirreffs said. “Obviously, it’s disappointing, but it’s one of those things
that happens with horses. You can’t always predict the outcome or what they’re
going to do. You just accept it and try to improve.”
Shirreffs said Eblouissante had not shown any signs of gate trouble in either of
her first two starts.
“Never, but she’s a big horse and the gate is somewhat tight, so she could be a
little claustrophobic,” he said. “Who knows what sets a horse off at that
moment? Whatever it was, it really set her off.
“We’ll give her a few days to heal up a little bit. Obviously, we’re going to
have to take her to the gate and school her, spend a lot of time in the gate and
get over whatever it was that set her off. Then we’ll just come back and start
Shirreffs hopes to get another start for Eblouissante at Saratoga, where the
trainer is spending his first full summer this year.
“We’ll look to bring her back probably in a little lower-profile race,” he said.
“It’s hard to say until we get her back on the track.”