$500,000 Alabama (G1)at Saratoga on Race 9 (Saturday, August 15, 2020: 5:43 p.m./ET; 2:43 p.m./PT) Mile and a quarter on the main track (three-year-olds fillies)
In this unconventional year, the highly-respected Alabama Stakes (G1) at Saratoga is the last major prep race before the September 2020 edition of the Kentucky Oaks (G1). Some of the best fillies stabled on the East Coast tussle in what is projected to be a competitive showdown in this noteworthy and prestigious event. Let’s take a closer look at this talented field:
#1 ENVOUTANTE, the ‘other’ Ken McPeek entrant, won an allowance race at Churchill Downs two starts ago before finishing a distant third behind SPEECH and VENETIAN HARBOR in the Ashland (G1) at Keeneland on July 11. Her Ashland (G1) Beyer Speed Figure (90) is at least good enough to hit the board in this race, but she’ll need to come up with a career best to win.
#2 SPICE IS NICE is by CURLIN out of the Grade I winner DAME DOROTHY and was purchased for seven figures as a yearling, so she has obviously been well regarded for quite some time. She ran a career high Beyer Speed Figure (95) in her first start this year off a three-and-a-half-month layoff and takes a step up to graded stakes company here. Before the layoff, she was well beaten by #5 SWISS SKYDIVER in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), her only attempt around two turns from four starts.
#3 CRYSTAL BALL ran her heart out but had to settle for second when losing by a head in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) on July 18. She wheels back in less than a month for trainer Bob Baffert and has remained in training at Saratoga. She ran unbelievably hard in the CCA Oaks (G1), having just broken her maiden one month prior. But could she ‘bounce’ in this race off such a huge effort?
#4 BONNY SOUTH makes her second start off a four-month layoff for trainer Brad Cox, who wins at a high 30% with his trainees making their second start off a 61-180 day break. Before that vacation, this gal won an allowance race and scored a last to first victory in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2). Top jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. rides, which is only a positive.
#5 SWISS SKYDIVER had won three races in a row (the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), Fantasy (G3) and Santa Anita Oaks (G2)) before finishing second to next out Ellis Park Derby (G3) winner ART COLLECTOR in the Blue Grass (G2) against the boys on July 11, which was extremely admirable. The best three-year-old filly on dirt in the country and the one to beat.
#6 HARVEY’S LIL GOIL was the 11/1 upset winner of the Regret (G3) on turf at Churchill Downs in June. However, she can also run effectively on dirt, as she broke her maiden by a half dozen lengths on the Aqueduct main track last year, followed by a runaway win in the Busanda Stakes. Junior Alvarado was aboard for those two wins at Aqueduct and rides back today.
#7 FIRE CORAL has lost by a combined 42 lengths in her last three races and will need complete form reversal to be competitive in this spot.
1. #5 SWISS SKYDIVER - May simply be faster than everyone else.
2. #2 SPICE IS NICE - Well bred filly comes off a career best and is bred to go two turns.
3. #6 HARVEY’S LIL GOIL – Daughter of American Pharoah.
LONGSHOT VALUE PLAY- #4 BONNY SOUTH – Improving Beyer Speed Figure pattern.
I’ll box my top two selections and longshot value play in exactas and put $20 to win on my longshot value play.
BANKROLL PLAY ($50 Budget) $5 Exacta Box: #2 SPICE IS NICE
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