02/04/2013 3:48PM

Aqueduct: Princess of Sylmar has Alabama Stakes as major target

Barbara D. Livingston
Princess of Sylmar, winner of the Busher Stakes, has the Grade 1 Alabama as a long-term goal.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – While most owners with a 3-year-old filly as talented as Princess of Sylmar would be thinking about the Kentucky Oaks, Ed Stanco has another top-class race for 3-year-old fillies on his mind.

As a native of Schenectady, N.Y., Stanco said he would love to win the Grade 1 Alabama, the signature race for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga, held this year on Aug. 17.

Stanco, who now lives in Pennsylvania and races under the name King of Prussia Stable, said he has told trainer Todd Pletcher “my one dream is to get our colors on one of those lawn jockeys in front of the clubhouse at Saratoga.”

“Obviously, that’s a long, long way off,” Stanco added. “Obviously, we’re thrilled with where she is.”

Princess of Sylmar is currently one of the top 3-year-old fillies in the country. Her seven-length victory in Saturday’s $100,000 Busher Stakes at Aqueduct was her fourth consecutive victory after she lost her debut. All four wins have been in races contested around two turns and have come by a combined margin of 38 3/4 lengths. She will now get a brief freshening and point to the Grade 2, $250,000 Gazelle at Aqueduct on April 6.

One of the reasons Stanco has Alabama fever is because Princess of Sylmar has given every indication that 1 1/4 miles – the distance of the Alabama – is well within her reach.

“There are very few fillies that can get the added distance,” said Stanco, who noted Princess of Sylmar is the first horse he has bred. “If she can, who knows what she can do? I think she’s got that A.P. Indy blood in her, she’s got the long distance in her.”

Princess of Sylmar is by Majestic Warrior, but her grandsire is A.P. Indy, winner of the 1992 Belmont Stakes.

While Stanco won’t rule out running Princess of Sylmar in the Kentucky Oaks, a 1 1/8-mile race at Churchill Downs on May 3, he admitted to having “mixed emotions” about that race.

Stanco believes the Oaks, much like the Kentucky Derby, can develop into a calvary charge into the first turn and that can take its toll on horses.

“There’s a lot of chaos,” Stanco said. “If she was really good, yes [the Oaks] would be nice to try and get there, but there are some other jewels further down the road.”

In addition to the Alabama, Stanco said he likes the idea of running in the Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga on July 20 and the Cotillion, which last year was a $1 million, Grade 1 race run at the end of September at Parx Racing.

Princess of Sylmar, who will remain in New York to train, recorded only an 82 Beyer Speed Figure for her dominant Busher score.

Pletcher said he isn’t that concerned by this filly’s speed figures, considering how dominant Princess of Sylmar has been. He was particularly impressed with how well Princess of Sylmar, ridden by Javier Castellano, adapted to the pedestrian early pace of the Busher, where the half-mile went in 51.12 seconds and six furlongs were run in 1:15.32.

“She showed her versatility,” Pletcher said. “Javier identified a pretty slow pace, got her around and in the clear a little earlier than we would have in a more honestly run race. What’s been so impressive about her is what she’s been able to do from the eighth pole to the wire.”