Can Untapable revive her fortunes in Shuvee?

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

July 31st, 2015

After dominating her contemporaries at three, Untapable has not looked so imposing this year losing twice in three appearances. The Steve Asmussen-trained champion will attempt to revive her old form before the Saratoga masses Sunday when she heads a field of six in the $200,000 Shuvee H. (G3).

Unbeaten against fillies in 2014, including a popular score against older in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1), Untapable has not really looked the same since. Upset over a wet Oaklawn strip in her season debut, the Azeri (G2), she rebounded to take that track's Apple Blossom H. (G1), but the performance was more workmanlike than flashy.

Next appearing in the June 6 Ogden Phipps (G1) at Belmont, Untapable was beaten five lengths by Wedding Toast and barely held second over returning rival House Rules.

Stopchargingmaria avoided any confrontation with Untapable last season, picking off fixtures the champion bypassed. Wins in the Black-Eyed Susan (G2), Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), and Alabama (G1) arguably marked her as second best in the crop, and she's come back in good shape with a close second in the Madison (G1) followed by a fourth-length romp in the Allaire du Pont Distaff (G3) at Pimlico.

Reportedly missing the Ogden Phipps due to illness, Stopchargingmaria catches Untapable at perhaps the most vulnerable point of the latter's career, and has thrived at the Spa the past two seasons with three wins and a second in four starts over the surface.

House Rules also has course-and-distance victory, against allowance company, but the Jimmy Jerkens trainee has been more impressive around one turn than two. Although she captured the nine-furlong Top Flight H. (G3) in April, she struggled to edge a weak field as a heavy favorite.

Tiz Windy, winless since taking the Indiana Oaks (G2) in October, ran her best race in some time when third in the Fleur de Lis H. (G2) at Churchill Downs. The Carl Nafzger trainee was behind Frivolous and Sheer Drama, who dominated the Delaware H. (G1), in reverse order, a couple of weeks ago. Tiz Windy seems a cut below the top pair, though.

The hot Bill Mott barn sends out Privet Hedge, re-imported from France earlier this year and making her dirt debut in this tough spot. A stakes winner on the synthetic surface at Deauville in December, she is out of a mare that won a Group 2 on turf in France and later was a Grade 2-placed winner on dirt in the U.S. It would be no surprise to see this filly step up and grab one of the minor shares at the very least.

The field is rounded out by Imposing Grace, a Grade 3 winner on Polytrack two years ago but relatively ordinary as a dirt performer.

The supporting feature on Sunday is the $100,000 Caress, a 5 1/2-furlong turf dash for fillies and mares. Free as a Bird, who captured the Caress and $100,000 Smart and Fancy at the Spa a year ago, looks to snap a two-race losing streak against the speedy Jewel of a Cat and lightly-raced allowance scorer Thieves Guild.

(Untapable photo: Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography)