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Early bird special on Sunday

Ron Flatter  
Saratoga Play of the Day

July 30, 2017 12:01 AM

A late-arriving crowd will miss the $200,000 feature Sunday at Saratoga. That is because it is the very first race of the day. Truth be told, the old Shuvee Handicap just ain’t what she used to be. A springtime Grade 1 in the ’80s and ’90s at Belmont Park, it was moved to the Saratoga summer four years ago, lengthened to nine furlongs and dropped to a Grade 3. Last year it attracted only four fillies and mares; others were probably scared off by the domination of Curalina. This weekend there are only three entries. Paid Up Subscriber (1-1) does not have Curalina’s résumé, but trainer Chad Brown’s 5-year-old mare gave Songbird a big push before losing by a length last month in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps on Belmont Stakes day. With Javier Castellano riding Sunday at Monmouth Park, John Velázquez takes over for the first time on Paid Up Subscriber. The 4-year-old Terra Promessa (6-5) has been off since she won a Grade 3 at Pimlico more than two months ago. Lightly raced 6-year-old Apologynotaccepted (3-1) finished second in her graded-stakes debut in May at Churchill Downs. All three horses are comfortable being on or near the lead, but based just on class this one is all about Paid Up Subscriber. She may well be odds-on at the start, so rolling her into a daily double with Frozen Hannah (3-1) and Five Hearts (10-1) in the second – a $67,000 inner-turf claiming race – would not be a bad idea.

Play of the Day: Paid Up Subscriber to win and play daily double.

Ron Flatter's Saratoga Play of the Day is sponsored by NYRA Bets. Get details on a $200 new membership sign-up bonus. (Void where prohibited.)

Sunday's Saratoga stakes race in handicap order from


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