Shuvee Handicap Brings Out Rite Moment
While most of the racing world will be focused on Pimlico May 17, the Gary Contessa-trained Rite Moment shoots for her fourth consecutive stakes victory in the $150,000 Shuvee Handicap (gr. II) at Belmont Park. The one-mile dirt race is set to go off one hour before the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
The Shuvee's major contenders can be viewed from the outside in, with Rite Moment carrying the most clout. Breaking from post 7, the 4-year-old daughter of Vicar seeks her third successive grade II win after wiring the April 19 Bed o’ Roses Handicap and closing quickly in the March 22 Distaff Handicap, both at Aqueduct. Contessa moved her up from the ungraded ranks after a 13 1/4-length score in the Feb. 9 Correction Handicap at Aqueduct, a mile and 70-yard event which she won so convincingly in spite of stumbling badly at the start.
Bred in Kentucky by Charles Nuckols Jr. and sons out of the Lost Code mare Moments of Joy, Rite Moment owns a 6-3-0 record from 12 starts.
Breaking from post 6 is Edward Seltzer’s Wow Me Free, who could prove contentious in this spot should she return to early form. The Kentucky homebred – a daughter of Menifee out of the With Approval mare Double Wow – won at first asking by 6 1/2 lengths going a mile at Laurel back in 2006. Two races later she also won at a mile, this time by a neck in a Laurel allowance. But when three more starts at that distance produced two show efforts and a fifth, Wow Me Free was stretched out to longer distances.
Transferred to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin prior to her most recent two starts, she is unbeaten since then. A neck score in the 1 1/4-mile Ladies Handicap at Aqueduct Dec. 15 was followed by a layup. When the filly came back at Aqueduct March 29 she took the 1 1/8-mile Next Move Handicap (gr. III) by 3 1/2 lengths. She has five wins and two third-place finishes from 13 starts to her credit.
Next to Wow Me Free is Stuart Janney III and Phipps Stable’s Carriage Trail. The Shug McGaughey-trained daughter of Giant's Causeway won the April 18 Doubledogdare Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland going 1 1/16-miles over the Polytrack while leading from start to finish. The score was her fourth overall and first stakes win.
Jeff Singer’s Cowgirls Don’t Cry, saddled by McLaughlin, and Tomisue Hilbert and John Menard’s Striking Tomisue, trained by Nick Zito, may factor in as well.
Striking Tomisue set the pace and drew away to win by 5 1/4 lengths in her last race, an April 18 allowance going one mile at Aqueduct. It was a third win from 14 starts for the Smart Strike filly, who makes her first start in graded company.
Cowgirls Don’t Cry, a daughter of Pure Prize, was third in the Bed o’ Roses after being eased in the stretch of the Next Move. She was the winner of the Anna M. Fisher Debutante Stakes at Ellis Park last summer and took time off after that event to return this February with a 5 3/4-length allowance score. Her current record is 3-1-1 from seven starts.
$150,000 Shuvee Handicap (gr. II, race 9, approximate post 5:15 p.m.), one mile for older fillies and mares, dirt
PP, Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Linda May, 114, Channing Hill
2. Cowgirls Don't Cry, 113, Michael Luzzi
3. Striking Tomisue, 114, Eibar Coa
4. Scatkey, 113, Jean-Luc Samyn
5. Carriage Trail, 117, Cornelio Velasquez
6. Wow Me Free, 117, Joe Bravo
7. Rite Moment, 119, Rajiv Maragh
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