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Seattle Smooth Returns in Shuvee

Grade 1 heroine Seattle Smooth, currently riding a five-race winning streak, is set to make her 5-year-old debut and defend her title in the Grade 2, $150,000 Shuvee Handicap on Saturday at Belmont Park.

 

In addition to the Shuvee and nine other live races, those in attendance at Belmont on Saturday will be able to watch and wager on the second leg of the Triple Crown, the Grade 1 Preakness from Pimlico.

 

Owned by Mercedes Stables and trained by Tony Dutrow, Seattle Smooth has not competed since taking the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap here at Belmont last June. Following the race, she was found to have bruising on her ankles and was sent to the sidelines.

 

The ankle issue was never serious, but it was there,” said Mercedes Stables’ racing manager Dennis Yokum. “There was never anything prescribed for her beyond rest, so we gave her time and monitored the ankles. They responded very well to the time off. She has come back a bit more aggressive, but she has come back very good.”

 

Seattle Smooth began her career competing over synthetic surfaces in California, but didn’t blossom until she was switched to conventional dirt. The daughter of Quiet American has won six of seven starts over the surface, encouraging her connections to view the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic – which will be contested over dirt in November after being held on an artificial surface at Santa Anita the previous two years – as a long-range target.

 

“Coming back off that long a layoff to run in a one-turn mile against graded stakes competition is a very imposing task, but we expect her to run a good race,” said Yokum. “The Shuvee would be great to win, but she doesn't have to win it. Her goal for this year is the Breeders’ Cup.”

 

Seattle Smooth, tabbed as the 3-5 morning-line favorite and assigned the high weight of 122 pounds, will break from the rail and will be ridden for the first time by Jeremy Rose.

 

Funny Moon, winner of last year’s Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Belmont, has competed once in 2010, having finished second behind stablemate Haka in the Grade 3 Doubledogdare over Keeneland’s Polytrack on April 16.

 

“We were very pleased with the comeback race,” said Christophe Lorieul, assistant to Christophe Clement, who trains the chestnut on behalf of Mrs. C. Wilson McNeely, III. “Haka had a few races in California under her belt, while Funny Moon was making her first start in eight months.”

 

Now 4, Funny Moon has finished in the exacta in three of her last four starts, with the exception being a last-of-eight performance in the Grade 1 Alabama last August. Louriel attributed the poor effort at Saratoga to the filly’s lack of mental development at the time.

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“As a 3-year-old, Funny Moon was a little difficult in the paddock,” Lorieul said of the 7-2 second choice. “She seems to be more mature this year.”

 

Jockey Alan Garcia will be reunited with Funny Moon, who drew post position 4 and will carry 117 pounds.

 

Eugene George’s Milwaukee Appeal has captured three stakes in her native Ontario, including the Woodbine Oaks. She is winless in her last six starts, but that span includes a pair of narrow defeats against males in two legs of the Canadian Triple Crown: a third by a neck in the Queen’s Plate and a second by a nose in the Prince of Wales Stakes.

 

Patrick Husbands, who regularly rides at Woodbine, will fly in from Toronto to guide Milwaukee Appeal in the Shuvee, which will be the bay’s first start since she reported home fourth in the Grade 1 Gazelle at Aqueduct in November.

 

Milwaukee Appeal, 4-1 on the morning line, will break from post 3 under 116 pounds.

 

Don’t Forget Gil, owned by Alan Brodsky, won the 2009 Grade 3 Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs and later that year was second by a neck behind Funny Moon in the Coaching Club American Oaks. After returning to Tampa Bay to open her 2010 campaign with a victory in the Wayward Lass, the Mark Hennig trainee beat one home to finish seventh in the Grade 3 Rampart at Gulfstream Park on March 20 last time out.

 

Juddmonte Farms homebred Solo Piano, a daughter of the 2001 Kentucky Oaks and Alabama winner Flute who enters this spot off a fourth in allowance race on the turf at Keeneland, completes the field.

 

The field for the 35th running of the Grade 2, $150,000 Shuvee:

 

PP

Horse

Jockey

Wgt

Trainer

Odds

1

Seattle Smooth (KY)

J Rose

122

A W Dutrow

3-5

2

Don't Forget Gil (NY)

R Maragh

115

M A Hennig

8-1

3

Milwaukee Appeal (ON)

P Husbands

116

S H Fairlie

4-1

4

Funny Moon (KY)

A Garcia

117

C Clement

7-2

5

Solo Piano (KY)

J Lezcano

114

W I Mott

12-1

 

 

 

 

 

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