Saratoga: Pletcher has favorite in Shuvee
Eblouissante (French for “dazzling”) is one of the buzz horses on the Saratoga Race Course grounds.
That’s what happens when you’re an undefeated half-sister to Zenyatta.
Authenticity has proven to be the real deal, though, and deserves to be the 7-5 morning-line favorite for the Grade III Shuvee for fillies and mares at a mile and an eighth today on the Coaching Club American Oaks undercard.
While the Shuvee looms as a step up for Eblouissante, it’s a bit of a step down for Athenticity, who beat On Fire Baby and Believe You Can in the Grade II La Troienne, and just missed by a half-length to Tiz Miz Sue in the Grade I Ogden Phipps Handicap.
“She’s been extremely consistent,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “She’s a very straightforward mare. It’s a drop-down from a Grade I, but it doesn’t appear to be an easy race if everyone shows up. We’re not anticipating the’re going to give anything away at Saratoga. They usually don’t.”
Authenticity, a 6-year-old daughter of Quiet American, is about as lightly raced as a 6-year-old who is still competing can be.
She has started just eight times, hitting the board in seven, but has done most — and her best — work this year.
Three of those starts came when she was 4, the last of which was a second in an allowance at Saratoga.
A condylar fracture put Athenticity on the sideline for over 15 months, then Padua Stables brought her back to the races in January at Gulfstream Park, where she was 1-1-1 from three starts before jumping into stakes company for the first time in her career.
Authenticity finished second in the Grade III Rampart at Gulfstream, then won the La Troienne, defeating two Grade I winners in the process.
“She’s push-button,” Pletcher said. “She’ll work fast if we need her to, work slow if we need her to, very professional. She’s been a pleasure to have.”
Just as Authenticity is lightly raced for a 6-year-old, Eblouissante is lightly raced for a 4-year-old.
She’s been out just twice, but won by a combined six lengths, first in a highly anticipated maiden race at Hollywood Park in November, then in an optional claiming race at Santa Anita in January.
She was supposed to run in the Ogden Phipps on May 27, but missed the race after coming down with a temperature in April.
Trainer John Shirreffs, who also trained 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta, said Eblouissante has thrived in New York.
“After she arrived here, she has started to fill out,” he said. “She has grown a lot and has put on a significant amount of weight, so I’m really happy with the way she has developed over the last month. She looks strong. I think time is the most important ingredient in a horse’s development. Their bodies need a chance to catch up.”
Eblouissante is the 7-2 third choice in the Shuvee behind Authenticity and Summer Applause, but Summer Applause is expected to run against Royal Delta in the Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park instead.
Authenticity was cross-entered in the Del Cap.