08/16/2014 10:43AM

Crist: Alabama analysis


At first glance, the field for Saturday’s Alabama Stakes appears to be a weak one at the mercy of Stopchargingmaria.

After repeated glances, it still looks that way.

Stopchargingmaria is the lone Grade 1 winner in a field of nine that drew only two other graded stakes winners of any kind – the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks winner Fortune Pearl and the Grad 3 Iowa Oaks winner Size. Those are the lone stakes victories by those two fillies, whereas Stopchargingmaria has four such triumphs – the Grade 3 Tempted and Grade 2 Demoiselle last year, and the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan and Grade 1 CCA Oaks this year. On accomplishment, she towers over the field, and she’s coming off a five-length, career-topping win over the Saratoga track in the CCA Oaks, defeating Unbridled Forever – the second choice on today’s morning line at 4-1. Unbridled Forever had no excuse in the CCA Oaks, so the fact that she’s second choice today speaks to the skimpiness of the opposition.

Size might be the actual second choice by post time and at least is a fresh face. She is already 3 for 4 and clearly has room to keep improving. The main concern with her is getting the distance: Her first three starts were at six furlongs, and while she stretched out to 1 1/16 miles winning the Iowa Oaks, that race did come over a sloppy track that might have helped the daughter of First Samurai.

One interesting possibility is Got Lucky, who like the favorite is trained by Todd Plether. The barnmates ran 1-2 just a neck apart in the Demoiselle last fall. Got Lucky never has raced at less than a mile, and her connections say they have been pointing for this 10-furlong race all year. She was not overwhelming returning from a layoff to win a prep for today’s race, but on the theory that it was a prep in which she was not primed for a top effort, she might move forward today.