08/14/2013 2:37PM

Saratoga: Princess of Sylmar’s owner relishing Alabama moment

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Barbara D. Livingston
Princess of Sylmar is coming off of wins in the Kentucky Oaks and Coaching Club American Oaks.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Three days before the 133rd renewal of the Alabama Stakes, Edward Stanco, owner of Princess of Sylmar, stood on the backstretch of Saratoga, gestured to the grandstand across the way, and smiled.

“This is Alabama week and she’s the star of the show,” Stanco said. “It’s so much fun. It’s overwhelming how much fun this is.”

Coming off of wins in the Kentucky Oaks and Coaching Club American Oaks, Princess of Sylmar is indeed the star of Saturday’s Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama, where she will have a chance to virtually cement the 3-year-old filly division title against five rivals.

Princess of Sylmar drew post 4 in a six-horse field that includes Black-Eyed Susan and Iowa Oaks winner Fiftyshadesofhay; listed stakes winners Tell a Great Story and Montana Native; Carnival Court, a half-sister to 2011 Alabama winner Royal Delta; and Galloping Giraffe.

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The Alabama, run at 1 1/4 miles, will go as race 10 on a 12-race card that includes the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational for males on turf. Both races will be televised on the NBC Sports Network in a one-hour show beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern.

It was back in February, following Princess of Sylmar’s seven-length win in the Busher Stakes over Aqueduct’s inner track – her fourth straight win – that Stanco allowed himself to go public with his desire to win the Alabama. As a long-time resident of nearby Schenectady, N.Y., Stanco held the Alabama in higher regard – even more so than the Kentucky Oaks.

“It’s the hometown track,” Stanco said. “Whenever I come up here, this has been the big summer filly race. A year ago I was up here Alabama day and watching Questing, and I had my son and my granddaughters with me.

“I just remember sitting there watching Questing burst through the stretch,” Stanco added. “I said, ‘My God, look at how good this filly is. This is unbelievable – what an event, what a performance.’ And to think we’re here now as the headliner is beyond anything I could ever imagine.”

Stanco did not necessarily envision winning the Kentucky Oaks, something Princess of Sylmar did at odds of 38-1 against a top-rated field. She returned to win the CCA Oaks by six lengths here on July 20.

“In a way it validated everything, not only for everyone else but for me in terms of wow she is really good,” Stanco said. “And we got a lawn jockey out of it. My one dream was to get one of those lawn jockeys. That one is sitting by The Post bar, so maybe we’ll get the one by the fountain.”

Stanco is waiting to see how the Alabama plays out before deciding what to do with the filly this fall. He mentioned Wednesday that the Alabama could be her last race of the year as he plans to race her in 2014.

“It could be,” Stanco said. “One at a time. We may give her a rest. I’d like to get a good 4-year-old season out of her, whatever that would take.”

Michael Castellano More than 1 year ago
She has a tremendous move in her, a real runner's move. If I had know or followed her out of town, I might have nailed her at 38 -1, a ridiculously long price which is hard to understand actually. Oh well, it's the old expression we all know, "Should of had her." Any price on her if it turns out more than even money should be gobbled up!
muskierob More than 1 year ago
Just make sure the photographers get Sylmar's good side when she lays her path of destruction.
tim More than 1 year ago
What great betting race, LOL. Cant wait,.
commenting More than 1 year ago
You can't overlook Royal Delta's sister... seems like talent runs in the family. I realize it's her first try and Stakes company (and Grade 1 at that), but the bottom line in the breeding is what counts!
Charles Sakach More than 1 year ago
My calculations show that Carnival Court and Fiftyshadesofhay are the 2 top horses in this. Carnival Court has not yet faced stakes caliber competition and that concerns me; the first time lasix is a plus. How each achieved their initial pace figures is intriguing. Since Carnival Court ran a 1-turn mile at Belmont, her initial quarter mile is slightly slower than her 2nd quarter mile. This could be because the surface in the chute probably isn't harrowed as much as the rest of the main track and could be deeper. Conversely, the initial quarter mile for Fiftyshadesof hay was around a turn and I would like to see a kick up in speed once the field leaves the clubhouse turn and makes the 2nd quater in the back stretch. I am giving the edge to Carnival Court, even with the lack of experience. Decide for yourself. Here are my calculations. The format is as follows: The number in parentheses represents the length of the segment in furlongs. The number that follows is a "speed calculation" based on the FPS for that segment, adjusted for track variant, and put into my mathematical model that equates speed and distance. To get the amount of "work" for that segment, multiply the number of furlongs times the corresponding "speed calculation". At the end of the race is any amount of "work" leftover that could not be quantified inside a whole furlong. The figures are only for the most recent start of each entrant. Tell a Great Story: (2) 17 (2) 17 (2) 18 (2) 10 + 5 left over for the last 1/2 furlong. Total: 128 Montana Native: (4) 16 (2) 17 (2) 12 (1) 9 Total: 133 Galloping Giraffe: (4) 13 (2) 16 (2) 15 (1) 14 Total: 129 Princess of Sylmar: (4) 15 (2) 18 (2) 15 (1) 11 Total: 138 Carnival Court: (2) 17 (2) 20 (2) 16 (2) 12 Total: 128 Fiftyshadesofhay: (2) 20 (2) 18 (2) 16 (2) 11 + 6 left over for the last 1/2/ furlong Total: 135 Note: A horse running a longer distance has a natural opportunity to accumulate more "work". However, "pace makes the race". You see Carnival Court and Fiftyshadesofhay both clipping a 20 value somewhere in their initial half mile. I have to think that the value for Carnival Court's initial quarter could be under-reported because the surface of the chute at Belmont is probably deeper than the surface of the main track. If I had to bet, it would be Carnival Court to win.
Perl More than 1 year ago
So you are saying Carnival Court, a horse with 3 career starts and a lifetime bsf of 82 (yeah I know bsfs are flawed, but still) is better than the Kentucky Oaks and CCAO winner? Sounds like fuzzy math, not that I pretend to understand how you arrived at the above figures. Look bro, I like 50shades and think she has a chance at an upset, but not sure where you got these #s. In any event, good luck. When these Pletcher horses bounce, they tend to really bounce (see Katie, Kauai)
Charles Sakach More than 1 year ago
I developed a "tool" with Excel. I can calculate a track variant by reverse-engineering the "100 point score" from either a Beyer or BRIS speed figure and compare it to a standard parallel time chart (which are actually derived from the "base 10 logarithms" of the average FPS for the distance.) I parse each race segment individually so I can analyze the horse slowing down...or in some cases speeding up...during the course of the race. I work these figures based on the FPS inside each race segment. I have been throwing darts at a mathematical model for years that draws parallels between distance and time. I think I finally found one that works. As far as "pace makes the race", use that mentality and you'll be better off. BTW: This race is for watching, not betting. I don't like it when my figures land on an inexperienced horse, but at one time they were all inexperienced. I am sure Carnival Court will make a fair account of herself in this.
Charles Sakach More than 1 year ago
BTW: I don't have the DRF past performances in this, so I don't see the Beyer speed figure. I have the BRIS past performances. Also...I neglected to notice that Carnival had some problems coming out of the gate in her last race. With a trouble-free start, she just may get the job done.
mary More than 1 year ago
Are u an idiot
Charles Sakach More than 1 year ago
Hardly. My background: Sr. Programmer/Analyst, Applications Developer for a global manufacturing company, Technical Writer, and former Computer Science Faculty at Henry Ford Community College. I spent most of my life at the track and the last 7 years developing pace calculation tools though abstract thought. I have a racing library most serious fans would love to have. In fact, my "newest" book was published 30 years ago.
mary More than 1 year ago
Your saying carnival court and fifty are the top 2 horses yeah good luck with that lmao
Joyce Johnson Groome More than 1 year ago
Okay...we get it !!!! You are very intelligent!!! But do you realize that the horses who may look the best on paper don't always win!!! If you do this for every race you must have a lot of time on your hands!
You Feel Lucky More than 1 year ago
Mary, your the fool......Sakach has picked more winners this year, than you have in your lifetime.......that is if you even bet. Get all you can at 2/5. lol
Charles Sakach More than 1 year ago
Thanks for pat on the back Lucky. Short prices don't do a whole lot for me either. At this point, I think it is up to the horses. What some folks overlook with Carnival Court is her breeding and the corresponding price that was paid. If there was any filly in this field that could take the next big step up even though they lack experience it would be her.
muskierob More than 1 year ago
By my calculations you a re a reacher and lose a lot of money.
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
That just confused me!!!! Are you genius
Charles Sakach More than 1 year ago
No...just someone that loves racing and realizes that in order to compete in this you need some sort of edge. Being engaged in developing mathematics (only Algebra) to turn running lines into numerical values not only keeps one's mind active, but also makes the game more interesting. Interesting to the point where one doesn't need to bet.
Michael Castellano More than 1 year ago
Not sure if speed figures alone can be used to pick winners consistently. It's not that they don't usually give a good idea on a horse's ability, but it should be remembered that speed figures often cannot be picked out of a race. Often a horse get's challenged in a short span of time, and this cannot be quantified out of a race except by watching it. This is often what the race boils down to, not the overall times, even if reduced to quarters. I don't know how many claimer's hold track records, but the number is substantial. Can mean little in a race. Who they beat is the trump card in my opinion. Speed figures are not irrelevant, but not enough to figure many races.
Charles Sakach More than 1 year ago
Agreed. However fractional times, points of call, speed figures, parallel time, and track variants represent the only solid criteria. The "challenge" you describe is noted, but difficult to quantify. That's why before making a bet, you need to have a significant edge in the calculations. If you don't, there's not really a good reason to bet; only watch and enjoy it for the wonderful spectacle it truly is. The "challenge" you describe is also something that is similar to a phenomenon that I describe as "pack density". This is when a group of horses has collected at a point in the race and the opportunity to break away from it does not exist. If only this could be quantified... Agreed that it is important to keep in my mind the company that the horses face. Prior to listing prices for allowance and MSW races, this was the only way to get a feel for class. Ray Taulbot used to have a way around that by measuring pace; in his mind, the faster the pace the higher the class. All though this idea is probably over 70 years old, it still holds true today. If you haven't read his book, "Thoroughbred Horse Racing 'Playing for Profit'", read it. It is a must for all serious fans and a good start. (Since I just got off on tangent for books, check this out: In my opinion, one of the best books ever written was "Fast and Fit Horses" by Bob Heyburn. I mean seriously, if you can get this book buy it and read it...over and over again.)
Jerry Ray More than 1 year ago
I think that the jockey that has been riding her should stay on her. If he can't because of other commitments I would like to see Rose N. ride her or Eddie Prado.
Gary Camejo More than 1 year ago
DISAPPOINTED NO MIKE SMITH FOR THE FILLY
MKKelly513 More than 1 year ago
So am I, but Mike Smith is the regular rider for Royal Delta. You don't want to have Mike Smith come on, while taking Javier off; then, reverse those steps after the 3YO Only season is over when Princess and Royal Delta start racing against each other. That would be bad jockey public relations.
Alex More than 1 year ago
Look out for the Darley horse, McGalughlin's horses are starting to run big.
Ivette Pitre More than 1 year ago
Which jockey will be riding her?
Lawrence Vaccarelli More than 1 year ago
the wheel job with orb for a 1.00 got me 300.00 on the oaks derby daily double ..how can I not just love this filly
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
Good One