Updated on 09/16/2011 9:03AM

Farda Amiga amazes in Alabama


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Farda Amiga, unraced since upsetting the Kentucky Oaks at 20-1 on May 3, overcame a cross-country ship, a 106-day layoff, and a wet racetrack to win Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 at Saratoga.

Under Pat Day, Farda Amiga rallied from well off the pace and wide to run down pacesetting Allamerican Bertie by three-quarters of a length. It was 2 3/4 lengths back to 8-5 favorite You in third. Jilbab, Nonsuch Bay, and Smok'n Frolic completed the order of finish.

Trainer Neil Drysdale scratched Bella Bellucci because he didn't want to run her over a wet racetrack. She will be pointed to the Gazelle Handicap at Belmont on Sept. 7.

Saratoga's main track was labeled good for the Alabama, but it had plenty of moisture in it. So much moisture, in fact, that all 10 races were run over a sealed track at the request of the jockeys, who felt it was safer than having track superintendent Jerry Porcelli open it up.

Speed held up through the early races, but the track seemed to balance out as it dried.

Under Larry Melancon, Allamerican Bertie jumped out to the front and opened up a clear advantage through fractions of 23.88 seconds, 47.81, 1:12.66, and 1:38.27.

Meanwhile, Farda Amiga raced in fifth position early on after breaking inwardly and resenting the kickback of mud in her face.

"She wasn't liking the stuff in her face, which is why I kept her out in the middle of the racetrack," said Day, who won the Alabama for the first time.

In the middle of the turn, Day turned Farda Amiga loose. She made a five-wide move turning for home, and with nine cracks of Day's left-handed whip, and 10 cracks of his right, Farda Amiga caught Allamerican Bertie in deep stretch. Farda Amiga, which means Friendly Silks in Portuguese, covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:04.68 and returned $8.70 as the third choice.

"I felt like when I put her to the task she was going to give me a punch," Day said. "If that was going to be good enough to get the job done, we didn't know. But, she stepped up to the plate and got the job done for us."

"She's an amazing filly,' said Paulo Lobo, who trains Farda Amiga for the partnership of Marcos Simon, Julio Camargo, and Jose DeCamargo. "I think she proved today that she's the best

3-year-old filly in America."

Steve Flint, the trainer of Allamerican Bertie, was pleased with his filly's race and tipped his hat to the victors.

"I got beat by a champion," Flint said. "Our filly ran her guts out. The filly that beat us is probably the champion 3-year-old filly. The guy did a fantastic job training her. I don't know of anybody else that could've got a horse to run a mile and a quarter like that over these conditions."