A winner in two of her four starts at Belmont last year, Sugar Shake looked like a much-improved filly when she dominated the El Encino (gr. II) and Santa Maria (gr. I) at Santa Anita in January and February. She will be making her first start in more than three months if she races in either the DuPont or Shuvee.
“I was going to run her in the Grade I (Santa Margarita) at Santa Anita that Balance won in March, but she spiked a temperature and got sick,” explained Sugar Shake’s trainer Bobby Frankel.
Jockey Eibar Coa will ride Sugar Shake, who is the 118-pound starting highweight. She will spot between two and four pounds to her rivals.
Sugar Shake is a 4-year-old daughter of Awesome Again —Skipping Around by Skip Trial. She was bred in Kentucky by Adena Springs and is owned by Stronach Stables.
Last year’s Darley Test (gr. I) winner Swap Fliparoo impressively scored in the Sabin (gr. III) this winter at Gulfstream going a one-turn mile. She followed that victory with third place finishes in the Rampart (gr. II) and Bed o’ Roses Breeders’ Cup (gr. II).
Although Swap Fliparoo may be oh-for-nine at Belmont, she has run some big races at the Elmont, N.Y. oval. She came within a half-length of beating heavy favorite Behaving Badly in last year’s Genuine Risk Handicap (gr. II).
Jerkens explained why he may opt to run Swap Fliparoo the Shuvee instead of the DuPont.
“She breezed a little too fast this morning,” Jerkens said of the three-furlong blowout in :34 3/5, handily, over the training track. “I wanted her to go slower. She’d have to ship five hours on the van tomorrow, so I think it might be better to leave her here and run. I’m still mulling it over.”
Swap Fliparoo is owned by Hobeau Farm. She bred in Florida by her owner and is by Exchange Rate and out of Fliparoo, by Buckaroo.
Jerkens also entered Teammate, winner of a third-level allowance optional claimer at seven furlongs at Belmont May 3 in her last start and 2007 debut, in Saturday’s feature.
Teammate ran her best two races last summer when she was second behind Pine Island in the Alabama (gr. I) and Gazelle (gr. I).
The one-mile Shuvee distance maybe a bit shorter than Teammate’s preferred trip, but Jerkens likes the way the race fits into the A.P. Indy filly’s schedule.
“At this stage of the game, a mile should be fine for her,” Jerkens said. “The Ogden Phipps (gr. I) is at a mile and a sixteenth, so this is a good progression.”
Gallagher’s Stud’s Rahys’ Appeal will take another shot at Sugar Shake after finishing third, beaten 2 ½ lengths by that rival in the Santa Maria.
Rahy’s Appeal won the Top Flight (gr. II) last fall at Aqueduct, was disqualified and then reinstated as the winner after an appeal. The Rahy mare encountered trouble in her last start, the Apple Blossom (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park, in which she was fifth.
“She got shuffled back for the first part and a couple of times it looked like she was going to start to make a run and then she had to steady,” offered trainer Tom Bush.
Norberto Arroyo Jr. will replace Alex Solis on Rahys’ Appeal for the Shuvee.
Shuvee Handicap (gr. II), $150,000, fillies and mares 3-years-old and up, one mile, approximate post 4:48.
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1 Swap Fliparoo, 116, Raul Rojas
2 Rahys’ Appeal, 116, Norberto Arroyo Jr.
3 Sugar Shake, 118, Eibar Coa
4 Last Romance, 114, Javier Castellano
5 Teammate, 116, Cornelio Velasquez
6 Silmaril, 116, Kent Desormeaux