Curalina, winning the La Troienne

Curalina, winning the La Troienne

Coady Photography/Churchill Downs

Shuvee Class Drop for Grade I Winner Curalina

Three-time grade I winner standout in four-horse field.

Only two races removed from her third grade I win, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Curalina takes a class drop and looms a huge standout in the four-horse field entered in the $200,000 Shuvee Handicap (gr. III) July 31 at Saratoga Race Course.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Curalina will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez as the 122-pound highweight, conceding from five to eight pounds to her challengers.

A 4-year-old daughter of Curlin , Curalina opened her 2016 season impressively May 6 at Churchill Downs, where she drew off to a 7 1/2-length victory in the $300,000 La Troienne (gr. I). The victory was the third in top company for the filly, who also won the grade I Acorn and Coaching Club American Oaks in 2015.

In her latest outing, the filly who has won half of her 10 career starts and earned more than $1.25 million held a brief lead in the grade I Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park before the 9-5 favorite was overtaken to eventually finish fourth, 3 3/4 lengths behind winner Cavorting.

Also returning from the Ogden Phipps is third-place finisher Carrumba, the only other graded winner in the Shuvee by virtue of her facile victory in the Top Flight Invitational (gr. III). The 4-year-old Phipps Stable homebred trained by Shug McGaughey subsequently finished second to Cavorting in the Ruffian Stakes (gr. II) and third in the Ogden Phipps.

Carrumba will break from the rail as the 117-pound second highweight.

The oldest and most experienced Shuvee entrant is Morning Line Racing Stable’s Joint Return, a 5-year-old Include  mare who has won or placed in half her 24 career starts and earned more than $500,000 for trainer Jason Servis.

A three-time stakes winner during her best campaign in 2014, Joint Return is winless in 16 starts since taking the Our Mims Stakes at Delaware Park two years ago.

Getting in light at 114 pounds is Sweetgrass, a multiple stakes-placed daughter of Street Sense  who has nearly as many owners as starts. Trained by Ian Wilkes, the 4-year-old filly finished second in the Indiana Oaks (gr. II) and third in the Iowa Oaks (gr. III) last year. This year, she finished third in the Rags to Riches Invitational Stakes at Belmont.

With three wins in 13 starts, the filly is owned by Six Column Stables, Randall Bloch (her breeder), John Seiler, and Fred Merritt.

Entries: Shuvee H. (G3)

Saratoga Race Course, Sunday, July 31, 2016, Race 3

  • Grade III
  • 1 1/8m
  • Dirt
  • $200,000
  • 3 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
  • 2:07 PM (local)
11Carrumba (KY)Jose L. Ortiz117Claude R. McGaughey III8/5
22Sweetgrass (KY)Irad Ortiz, Jr.114Ian R. Wilkes8/1
33Curalina (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJohn R. Velazquez122Todd A. Pletcher3/5
44Joint Return (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateKendrick Carmouche115John C. Servis10/1