How to bet the 2023 Shuvee Stakes

July 21st, 2023

Four fillies and mares will travel 1 1/8 miles over the Saratoga main strip in Sunday’s $200,000 Shuvee S. (G2). The field features a pair of standout distaffers, including Champion #2 Nest who will make her 2023 debut in the affair.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, the fantastic daughter of Curlin compiled a fine 8-5-2-0 mark as a three-year-old while annexing a trio of Grade 1 contests in 2022. The Kentucky-bred ran arguably her two best races at the Spa with a 12-length romp in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), which preceded a 4 ¼-length waltz in the Alabama S. (G1).

Nest has not missed a morning drill since the middle of May and figures to be fit and ready for her first appearance since finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Keeneland. The bay possesses the natural early speed to be on top or tracking the action from second in this tilt, which will give her a head start on her main foe turning for home. Regular pilot Irad Ortiz, Jr. will be in the controls.

I’m a huge fan of Steve Asmussen’s #4 Clairiere, the defending champion of the Shuvee. The Curlin five-year-old has a potent turn of foot and comes in off of a pair of impressive Grade 1 victories when getting up late in both the Apple Blossom S. (G1) and Ogden Phipps S. (G1) most recently. Stonestreet homebred has posted three solid morning drills in advance of her return to Saratoga, and she also has a recency edge on her main foe, as well.

I am a bit concerned, however, that the mare will be trailing the field behind a dawdling early pace which could hamper her chances in the final stages of the contest. The classy lass, who is currently the division leader, will commence her run approaching the turn for home with regular rider Joel Rosario in the stirrups.

#1 Skratch Kat will appreciate the stretch out in distance in her third run off the layoff, and Robert Reid’s #3 Pistol Liz Ablazen has shown improvement in each of her races since adding blinkers, but it’s difficult to see either of the four-year-olds crashing the exacta party.

Shuvee Wagers

$40 exacta: 2 with 4 ($40)