Updated on 09/15/2011 12:52PM

Flute goes to head of the class

NYRA/Adam Coglianese
Flute wins Alabama by 4 3/4 lengths Saturday at Saratoga.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Flute took command of the Alabama right from the start, and with her victory in the Grade 1 race took command of the 3-year-old filly division.

Somewhat surprisingly, Flute outsprinted her six rivals to the front entering the first turn and then proceeded to lead at every call in winning the $750,000 Alabama by 4 3/4 lengths before 35,616 fans Saturday at Saratoga.

Exogenous, who was second in the Coaching Club American Oaks, rallied for second, 2 3/4 lengths ahead of 42-1 shot Two Item Limit. Dancethruthedawn, Real Cozzy, Tweedside, and Unrestrained completed the order of finish.

By adding the Alabama to her demonstrative victory in the Kentucky Oaks three months ago, Flute has ascended to the top of the 3-year-old filly division.

"Right now, she's the head of the class," trainer Bobby Frankel said.

On paper, Flute looked every bit the favorite she was made by the betting public. But she figured to come from off the pace as she had done in the Kentucky Oaks.

But when the doors opened, an eager Flute took jockey Edgar Prado to the lead and they carved out fractions of 23.74 seconds, 47.26, 1:11.34, and 1:36.28. Turning for home, Prado shook up Flute, and despite drifting out slightly down the lane, she came home an easy winner. The final time of 2:01.88 equaled the fifth-fastest Alabama time at 10 furlongs. Flute, a daughter of Seattle Slew owned by Juddmonte Farms, returned $3.70 to win.

"She broke so well and it seemed like nobody wanted to go to the lead," said Prado, who picked up the mount when regular rider Jerry Bailey went to Chicago to ride Hap in the Arlington Million. "I took a nice long hold and she was playing around going to the first turn. When she opened up a length, length and a half she relaxed a little better. Around the second turn she was looking around a little bit, but when she heard someone coming she took off again."

Frankel said he was somewhat surprised to see Flute on the lead, but had no worries as he watched the race unfold.

"She broke, he took a hold of her, and she just went on to the lead easy," said Frankel, who won his third stakes here and is now 6 for 14 at the meet. "He did the right thing not trying to fight her or anything. I was never worried."

Frankel said he was unsure where he would run Flute next. He hinted that he might train her up to the Breeders' Cup Distaff at Belmont Park on Oct. 27.