Society Selection Dominates in Shuvee

(from Belmont Park report)
Irvin and Marjorie Cowan's multiple grade I winner Society Selection halted a three-race losing streak Saturday by winning the $196,000 Shuvee Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares at a mile.

It was the first win in two starts this year for the 4-year-old Kentucky homebred daughter of Coronado's Quest. In her seasonal debut in Gulfstream Park's Shirley Jones (gr. II) on Feb. 19, Society Selection stumbled badly at the start and lost all chance as she ran last in a field of seven.

"She had a cut that got infected," said trainer H. Allen Jerkens, who has now won four Shuvees – previously with Missy's Mirage (1992), Sky Beauty (1994) and Shiny Band (2002). "We sent her to the hospital in Kentucky (Rood & Riddle). She was there for about a week. I wasn't planning on running in this race until she worked too fast one day. We figured she must have been pretty fit."

Back at Belmont, where she won the Frizette (gr. I) as a 2-year-old and had two seconds from four starts previously, Society Selection also picked up a new jockey in Eibar Coa. He kept her far off the pace in the Shuvee as Bohemian Lady pressed Traci Girl hard on the lead through fractions of :22 4/5; :45 4/5 and 1:09 2/5.

Coa got his mount revved up on the outside, and Society Selection simply blew by the field to win by 2 3/4 lengths in 1:34 1/5, tying the stakes record set by Catinca in 1999.

"I guess (Coa) was biding his time today," Jerkens said. "Usually, when she starts to make a move, she keeps on going. She likes to run after somebody. We hope she'll be well enough and good enough to run in the Ogden Phipps Handicap."

The $300,000 Phipps (gr. I) is June 18 at 1 1/16 miles at Belmont Park.

Society Selection won the Test and Alabama (both gr. I) in back-to-back style on off-tracks last year. She has won six of 14 in her career with earnings of $1,376,700.

Favored Daydreaming finished second. Bohemian Lady was a neck behind her in third, with Traci Girl and Saintliness trailing.

Society Selection returned $5.80, $3.00 and $2.50. Daydreaming, the 8-5 choice paid $2.70 and $2.20 and Bohemian Lady paid $2.80 to show.

(Chart, Equibase)