There is usually little surprise when trainer Scott Lake moves a horse up off a claim. However, the improvement in Shake You Down since he was claimed by Lake for himself on March 12 is astounding.
Shake You Down is one of seven runners in the grade III, $100,000 six-furlong Bold Ruler Saturday at Belmont Park.
Lake claimed the 5-year-old horse for $65,000, then immediately boosted the son of Montbrook to a $56,000 allowance. He cruised in that race by 7 1/2 lengths, then came back 15 days later with another impressive effort, winning the same condition by more than five lengths
Both races since the claim have been run over wet tracks.
"We're praying for a wet track again," said Lake. "I think he'll be a pretty nice horse on a fast track, too."
Lake was watching horses enter the paddock at Aqueduct March 12 and Shake You Down caught his eye, albeit for the wrong reasons.
"When he came to the paddock that day he was thin and looked in poor health," Lake said. "I thought some of his numbers warranted giving that kind of money for him. Since we got him, he's put on 150 to 200 pounds."
Lake's care has paid off. Shake You Down has run tremendous speed figures in his last two starts, but merely looking at the final times of his races tells the story. On April 26, his final time of 1:07 3/5 after setting fractions of :21 4/5, :44 1/5 and :55 4/5, was sensational.
"That race was so impressive," Lake said. "After setting those fractions, he just kept going. He looked strong and never took a deep breath."
Apprentice Pablo Fragoso was aboard for both victories, but will be replaced by Aqueduct's leading rider, Mike Luzzi, for the Bold Ruler.
The field, in post order:
Peeping Tom, Shaun Bridgmohan, 117
Pinch Hitter, Eibar Coa, 112
Here's Zealous, John Velazquez, 114
Multiple Choice, Victor Carrero, 117
Well Fancied, Javier Castellano, 113
Say Florida Sandy, Jose Santos, 116
Shake You Down, Mike Luzzi, 115