Friday, August 21, 2009

The Grade 1 Alabama Stakes

Fillies take center stage at The Spa on Saturday with the 129th running of the Grade 1 $600,000 Alabama Stakes. Of course, the big filly currently at Saratoga (Rachel Alexandra) will not be participating, but it was good news to hear that TVG and Betfair have decided to pony up $400,000 to make the Grade 1 Beldame a $1,000,000 purse, provided both Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta show up to duke it out. However, I do digress, let's get back to the matter at hand which is the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes.

For the top pick, I understand this is not a turf race, however, Christophe Clement's #3 Funny Moon was a winner in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks on July 25 at Belmont over several of these same horses. Alan Garcia has the ride and while that does not enrapture me, he is the only rider this filly has ever known. #8 Milwaukee Appeal faced the boys in her last two Triple Crown starts in Canada, The Queen's Plate and The Prince Of Wales. She acquitted herself quite nicely too with a third and a second in those two races, respectively. This will be her first start in the United States. The predominant speed horse in the race is #5 Careless Jewel, who won the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks on July 18. Her last work over the polytrack at Woodbine on August 14 was a sizzler, going five furlongs in 1:00.3. If she gets to dictate the pace by herself, she could just steal things up front and go all the way. I do think, though, that she will receive some pressure from #6 Be Fair. For the final spot in the top four, I will go with the runner-up to the top pick in the Coaching Club American Oaks, #4 Don't Forget Gil. Her last few workouts have been speedy and I like the mix of speed and stamina in her lineage. Here is the play for the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes:

$5 WP #3 and $1 EX BOX 3-5-8 and $1 TRI BOX 3-5-8
TOTAL- $22

Remember, these are just suggestions and They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers made in conjunction with these selections. Tune in again on Monday for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!

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