Shake You Down will spot six foes from five to 11 pounds when he attempts to capture the $200,000 A.G. Vanderbilt Handicap (gr. II) at Saratoga Sunday. Shake You Down has tallied five wins in a row, including three graded stakes scores, and will try and follow in the hoofprints of Orientate, who took the six-furlong Vanderbilt a year ago on his way to capturing the Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I) and an Eclipse Award.
Trainer Scott Lake claimed Shake You Down out of a March event at Aqueduct for $65,000 for owner Robert Cole Jr. He has since won the Bold Ruler (gr. II), True North Handicap (gr. II), and the Smile Sprint Handicap (gr. III). "He came out of that race better than he came out of any other," Lake said. "He reminds me of Xtra Heat the way he hits the turn, switches leads, and is gone." Lake trained Thunderello to a runner-up finish in last year's Breeders' Cup Sprint.
Red-hot conditioner Kiaran McLaughlin will take a shot at upsetting the favorite with Sunray Spirit, who won the Cowdin Stakes (gr. III) in 2001. He scored an authoritative victory in a Belmont allowance tilt July 17.
Mike's Classic, a winner of three of his last four outings, also merits a look. Trainer Allen Jerkins has won the Vanderbilt twice, and trained the dam of Mike's Classic, Classy Mirage, to capture the Ballerina Handicap (gr. I) in 1995 at Saratoga.
Graded stakes winners Mountain General and Najran are also threats.
The field for the A.G. Vanderbilt, in post position order with jockeys and weights:
1) Najran (Edgar Prado, 115)
2) Mountain General (Pat Day, 118)
3) Sunray Spirit (Richard Migliore, 112)
4) Shake You Down (Mike Luzzi, 123)
5) State City (Jorge Chavez, 117)
6) Mike's Classic (Ray Ganpath, 114)
7) Private Horde (Jason Lumpkins, 115)