Updated on 09/15/2011 12:51PM

Flute hitting right notes for Alabama

Michael J. Marten/Horsephotos
Kentucky Oaks winner Flute can move to the head of the 3-year-old filly division with a victory in Saturday's Alabama Stakes at Saratoga.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Good fortune has followed Bobby Frankel and his 3-year-old filly Flute most of the year.

In May, just when it looked like Flute would be excluded from the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks because of a lack of earnings, an illness suffered the day of entry by another filly let her in. Flute went on to win the race by 2 3/4 lengths.

In June, while in California preparing for the Mother Goose at Belmont, Flute suffered a foot abscess, which forced her to miss the race. It might have proven to be a blessing as Fleet Renee ran a monstrous race to win.

In July, Frankel scratched Flute out of the Delaware Oaks after she drew post 13. The following week, Frankel found a soft allowance race at Saratoga to run in that set her up perfectly for Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 Alabama.

Flute's good fortune continued this week when Fleet Renee, the Ashland and Mother Goose winner, was withdrawn from Saturday's Alabama because of an unspecified injury.

Now, Flute seems primed to head into the fall as the clear-cut leader of the 3-year-old filly division.

Without her main rival, with a race over the track, and with her trainer winning everything in sight, Flute seems primed to defeat her six rivals in the Alabama at 1 1/4 miles. The Alabama will be televised live on ESPN as part of its Arlington Million coverage beginning at 4 p.m.

"I feel good; I got a lot of confidence in this filly," said Frankel, who has won five of 11 starts at this meet, including the Whitney Handicap and Adirondack. "If I was running at Belmont, at a mile and an eighth, I don't know. But at two turns I feel pretty good."

Flute's last four starts have all been around two turns, resulting in three victories and a second-place finish behind Golden Ballet in the Santa Anita Oaks.

Although she's a one-run closer, Flute has shown adaptable to any pace scenario. Edgar Prado replaces Jerry Bailey who is in Chicago for the Arlington Million. Flute breaks from post 5.

With Fleet Renee out, Flute's main challenges figure to come from Dancethruthedawn, Real Cozzy and Tweedside.

Dancethruthedawn has faced colts the last two times she has run, winning the Queen's Plate at Woodbine and finishing second behind Win City in the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie.

When she faced Flute in the Kentucky Oaks, Dancethruthedawn got bumped around entering the first turn and sustained cuts to her back legs while finishing 12th. Dancethruthedawn lost some training time, but was still fit enough to win the Woodbine Oaks a month later. Her victory in the Queen's Plate duplicated the feat achieved by her mother, Dance Smartly.

Trainer Mark Frostad turns to Pat Day for the Alabama. Day rode Dance Smartly, and Frostad believes Day's patience should suit Dancethruthedawn. Frostad said Dancethruthedawn has a habit of pulling herself once she makes the lead.

"She's been hitting the lead a little early," Frostad said. "She hit the lead a little too early in the Plate but she held on."

Dancethruthedawn figures to be stalking Tweedside, the main speed of the race who will break from post 2.

Tweedside, who disappointed on dirt earlier in her career, comes off a 7 3/4-length score in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at 12 furlongs. Two starts back she won the Sands Point, a race originally slated for turf but moved to the main track.

Real Cozzy, the Fair Grounds Oaks winner and Kentucky Oaks runner-up, should benefit from the two-turn, 1 1/4-miles of the Alabama. She could be compromised by the lack of a strong pace in the race, but should get a ground-saving trip from the rail.

Exogenous, Two Item Limit and Unrestrained complete the field.

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