by Karen M. Johnson
Sugar Shake looks to regain the form she had earlier this year when she won the Santa Maria Handicap (gr. I) in the Turnback the Alarm Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct Nov. 4.
Trained by Bobby Frankel, who won the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) with Ginger Punch Oct. 27, Sugar Shake seeks her first win since taking the Santa Maria at Santa Anita Feb. 10. Sugar Shake is the 119-pound high weight among six fillies and mares entered in the Turnback the Alarm at 1 1/8 miles on the dirt.
In her last race, Sugar Shake finished fourth behind Panty Raid, Lady Joanne, and Teammate in the Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (gr. I) on Keeneland’s Polytrack surface. She has worked sharply since the Spinster and should be tough if she returns to the form that saw her win the El Encino (gr. II) and Santa Maria in consecutive starts during the winter.
Javier Castellano rides Sugar Shake, who has early speed, from post five.
Altesse, a stalker in a race heavy on speed, also ran in the Spinster, finishing sixth for trainer Shug McGaughey. Altesse has run consistently this year, winning twice and finishing second four times from seven starts.
One of her wins came on Aqueduct’s main track in the spring in a second-level allowance. Altesse, a regally bred daughter by A.P. Indyout of a Storm Catmare, also won an overnight stakes at Saratoga at the distance of the Turnback the Alarm.
Buzzy Tenney, McGaughey’s assistant, said a throat operation during the early summer to open Altesse’s airways was successful. Tenney said the filly’s dam, Aldiza, also suffered from breathing problems. Aldiza won the 1998 Go for Wand Stakes (gr. I) for McGaughey.
“I think (Altesse) benefited from the myectomy because she gained confidence that she can get air,” Tenney said Nov. 1. “(The Spinster) wasn’t a bad race. It was an extremely competitive race. Right now, she’s not a grade I-type filly, but anything behind that she is competitive.”
John Velazquez rides Altesse from the rail post.
Peak Maria’s Way, a Delaware Park shipper, figures to battle with Sugar Shake for the lead. A winner of four races this year, including the Obeah Handicap at Delaware Park, Peak Maria’s Way wasn’t a factor in two graded start this year.
An intriguing runner is Folk, who will make her first start since Aug. 18 when she finished seventh and last in the Alabama Stakes (gr. I) after pressing the pace. Folk, who runs for Godolphin Racing, looked like she would have been a force in 3-year-old filly races this year after easily winning a pair of listed races, the UAE 1000 Guineas and UAE Oaks, in Dubai during the winter. She also finished a very good third off a layoff behind Octave and Lear’s Princess in the Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I).
A freshened Folk, another front-runner, returns to Aqueduct, where she won a maiden race by 10 ¼ lengths in November 2006. Victory Pool and Cindy’s Mom complete the field.