Content to track surprising leader Sea Island through slow fractions early, Authenticity surged past turning for home and held off an inside rally from Flashy American to win the $200,000 84 Lumber Shuvee Handicap (gr. III) by one length July 20 at Saratoga Race Course (VIDEO).
The victory gives Padua Stables' 1-2 choice Authenticity, who missed all of the 2012 season, a pair of graded stakes wins this year. The 6-year-old Quiet American mare won the La Troienne Stakes (gr. III) May 3 at Churchill Downs and Authenticity received a brief rest after just missing a grade I score in the May 27 Ogden Phipps Handicap at Belmont Park, where she finished a close second to Tiz Miz Sue.
"It was pretty straightforward. We had a favorable post and we felt like we were either the speed of the race or could let it unfold inside us," said winning trainer Todd Pletcher. "She got in a good stalking position and a comfortable rhythm. I think it was a good effort from her. She's a total professional. She's very easy to train, easy to ride... you can put her on the lead, you can let her stalk, take her back if you wanted to."
The stakes debut for Eblouissante did not go as smoothly. The half sister of horse of the Year Zenyatta won her first two career starts, but acted up in the gate before the two-turn race, throwing jockey Rosie Napravnik. Napravnik quickly climbed back on the 4-year-old daughter of Bernardini but Eblousissante did not break well and factored little in the race.
"It was a long wait in the gate, and she got a little nervous and started acting up," Napravnik said.
While Sea Island typically stalks, the 4-year-old daughter of Pulpit and jockey Jose Lezcano found themselves on the lead through a slow half-mile in :50.80 and six furlongs in 1:15.03. Authenticity tracked in second throughout before launching her winning move to complete the 1 1/8-mile race for fillies and mares in 1:52.33 on a track rated good.
"I knew it was going to be a slow pace, but I didn't want to be on the lead, either," said winning jockey John Velazquez. "I kind of eased off from the other horse and got her to relax. By the three-eighths pole she got into that nice rhythm, and she did it pretty easy."
Improving her career record to 4-3-1 in nine starts, Authenticity boosted her earnings to $513,362.
Authenticity returned $3 to win, $2.30 to place, and $2.10 to show. Preston Stables' Flashy American, a 4-year-old Flashy Bull filly who entered off an easy win in the Iowa Distaff Stakes, secured her first graded stakes placing as she paid $4.30 to place and $2.80 to show. Sea Island held third and returned $2.90. Rounding out the field of six were Moon Philly, Royal Lahaina, and Eblouissante.
Bred in Kentucky by Dixiana Stables, Authenticity is out of the Deputy Minister mare Court of Appeal.