08/17/2005 11:00PM

Spun Sugar hits spot

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Spun Sugar pressed the pace from the inside in her last two outs.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Todd Pletcher felt Spun Sugar was compromised by inside, pace-prompting trips when she finished second in the Mother Goose and third in the Coaching Club American Oaks. So he was quite pleased to learn that Spun Sugar drew the outside post in the seven-horse field entered to run 1 1/4 miles in Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 at Saratoga.

"Perfect," Pletcher said. "We should be able to allow things to happen."

What Pletcher would like to see happen is the same thing that happened in the Black-Eyed Susan, when Spun Sugar settled off the pace and came with a big stretch run to win the Grade 2 event by nearly four lengths.

Spun Sugar and Sis City, the Grade 1 Ashland winner, head an Alabama field that has been riddled with defections. Last week, Summerly, the Kentucky Oaks winner, and Smuggler, the Mother Goose and Coaching Club American Oaks winner, were declared from the race because of infirmities. Round Pond, the Acorn winner, came out of last month's Delaware Oaks with an injury and is out for the year.

Spun Sugar, a daughter of Awesome Again, split Smuggler and Summerly in the Mother Goose and was third behind those two in the Coaching Club. In both races, Spun Sugar pressed the pace from the inside. Pletcher would rather see her sit off the pace Saturday.

"She's tractable," Pletcher said. "It's just been circumstances more than anything the last two races. Our filly's been running with the best fillies in the country and held herself well. If Sis City runs back to her 'A' race, then she's the horse to beat."

Sis City, whom trainer Richard Dutrow claimed here 54 weeks ago, won the Grade 2 Davona Dale by 16 lengths and the Ashland by 10 1/2 lengths to begin the year. She was sent off the 3-5 favorite in the Kentucky Oaks and finished fourth behind Summerly. In the Delaware Oaks, run over a sloppy track, she finished fourth again.

Dutrow said that Sis City acted up in the gate before both of those races. He has done additional gate work with the filly and is confident she will rebound in a big way.

"This filly is going to come back and run big. She's sitting on a race," Dutrow said before Sis City blew out three furlongs in 37.45 seconds Thursday. "I have a feeling she likes this track. She won over it last year, so I have to feel good about our chances. If she runs her race, these fillies can't beat her. But Sis City is going to have to go out there and run her race. She hasn't done that since April. It's about time that she does."

Sis City will break from post 3 under Edgar Prado.

Sis City could find company on the front end from Ready and Alluring, who comes off a front-running score in the Labatt Bison City Stakes at Fort Erie on July 4.

R Lady Joy is the only other graded stakes winner in the field. After finishing second behind Spun Sugar in the Black-Eyed Susan, R Lady Joy won the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks at 17-1. She has yet to run beyond 1 1/16 miles.

Sweet Symphony could be the most intriguing filly in the field. Unbeaten in three starts, Sweet Symphony will be making her stakes debut. Owned by George Steinbrenner's Kinsman Stable. Sweet Symphony owns a win over the track, though it was more like a workout than a race.

"She's never showed herself off," trainer Bill Mott said. "She always makes you think she's got a little more in reserve.''

For All We Know won her first three starts before jumping up in class to the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks, where she finished fourth. Trainer John Ward believes the experience of that race will help For All We Know in this race.

"I think she's a better horse today than she was that day," Ward said.

Dance Away Capote, a wide third in the Delaware Oaks, completes the field.

The Alabama will be the last of 10 races on Saturday and will be televised live in a one-hour ESPN telecast beginning at 5 p.m.

The field

Alabama Stakes
Purse: $750,000; 1 1/4 miles; Grade 1

PPHORSEJOCKEYODDS
1R Lady JoyJ. Lezcano10-1
2Sweet SymphonyJ. Bailey7-2
3Ready and AlluringJ. Castellano10-1
4Sis CityE. Prado3-1
5Dance Away CapoteR. Dominguez6-1
6For All We KnowG. Stevens8-1
7Spun SugarJ. Velazquez8-5

* All starters carry 121 pounds
* DRF odds
* Television: Saturday, 5-6 p.m. (Eastern), ESPN