08/16/2013 3:52PM

Steven Crist's Saratoga graded stakes analysis: Alabama

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There’s no point belaboring the obvious virtues of Princess of Sylmar in Saturday’s Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga, and to my mind no point trying to beat her.

She is substantially faster than her five opponents; she is the lone Grade 1 winner in the field, and already has won the Kentucky Oaks and Coaching Club American Oaks; she got a race over the Saratoga track winning the latter, and runs like the 10 furlongs will suit her just fine. That’s a potent four-punch of speed, class, surface, and distance.  I plan to single her in pick-whatevers.

If there’s any value in playing the race separately, it could be in trying to make someone more interesting than Fiftyshadesofhay run second. She is the 2-1 second choice on the morning line behind Princess of Sylmar at 3-5, and the others are double digits. Granted, Fiftyshadesofhay is far more accomplished, and a little faster, than the other four, but she has had 10 starts to get there and seems to have hit a plateau with less chance of sharp improvement than a Carnival Court  (15-1) or Galloping Giraffe (20-1), both making their fourth career starts.

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James More than 1 year ago
Bet you the Bridge is going to be packed with Jumpers
mark oleary More than 1 year ago
hey philip, yes end the horrible high class meet at Saratoga and get ready for big league racing at...say,,Beulah Park yes,,that's it!!
HRoberish More than 1 year ago
The Alabama Stakes? Should be called the Missouri Stakes, named after the "Show-me" state because somebody's got to show me why this is a Grade 1 with this inexperienced field l(except the heavy fav)!
Malihe Yahyavi More than 1 year ago
FiftyshadesofHay a lock
Felton Suthon More than 1 year ago
How is this the race of the day instead of the Arlington Million? Boo!
James More than 1 year ago
because stevie c. is ny guy though and though. I agree the million is the race of the day
Michael Castellano More than 1 year ago
You might just get even money of Prince of Sylmar. You've got a Saturday crowd looking for a price that might effect things at the windows. Anything close to even money would be a steal. Worth watching the price at least. When she opens at 1-5 or 1-9 they will start betting the others. When the bigger money arrives, who knows? Plus they don't seem to like this horse. Going off at 38-1 out of town tells you something. We shall see.
Alexander Morris More than 1 year ago
When do we start looking at 3 year olds as Grade 1 winners and giving them that "class" edge?? POS was 36-1 in Ky. Oaks;not a grade 1 winner etc... Horses have to win a grade 1 at somepoint as their first. If others have does that give them, the winners of one of these grade 1's a true advantage?? Thoughts from everyone would be nice. Thanks!
Rob Tolliver More than 1 year ago
She might've been 36/1 but it was arguably the best Oaks field in history on paper. She won that pretty convincingly and the first 4 favorites in that race would be favored over the rest of the field here.
Todd More than 1 year ago
A ho-hum race from a wagering perspective. A "pass" for me.
Philip Conforti More than 1 year ago
Is that last week finally over! Thank god !
Charles Sakach More than 1 year ago
I am going to take some flack, but the Princess would not have achieved that sparkling result in her last race had she faced some real pace. Carnival Court has the best pace figures, even with trouble breaking from the gate in her last. With a clean break, watch out. Quite frankly, chalk doesn't get me excited. Look for Carnival Court to at least make Princess an honest filly.
Ann More than 1 year ago
I thought folks were saying she only won the Ky Oaks because the fast pace up front set it up for her! Let's be consistent here.
Charles Sakach More than 1 year ago
In the Gazelle, Princess tuned up by running a decent pace. She didn't last; however that set her up for the Oaks. Agreed that she benefited from a speed battle in the Oaks; had she gotten into it, she would have faltered. There was virtually no pace in the CCA Oaks and frankly, she didn't beat any significant horses in it. Had there been any other quality horse in that field, that horse would have also benefited from the slow pace and it may have been quite a different outcome. Good "pace" figures (recorded in the earlier stages of the race) can materialize in the subsequent race at a different stage in that race. What I am alluding to is that: - Princess Sylmar did not face any realistic fractions in her last race. Therefore, her own personal effort lacks the mathematical analysis of pace that identifies true racing energy. - Carnival Court had trouble leaving the gate in her last, still recording and overcoming a much hotter pace than was faced by Princess Sylmar in the CCA Oaks. The mathematical analysis of this effort identifies more stored energy than that possessed by Princess Sylmar. I am not saying that Carnival Court will lead this thing gate to wire. Horses with natural tendencies to break on top like Montana Native will break on top in this. Tell a Great Story and Fiftyshadesofhay will be pushing it; this will set it up. Carnival Court will wait just behind these and when the leaders start to tire coming out of the turn, she will begin moving forwardly. Meanwhile, Princess of Sylmar will be lagging far behind this bunch and the opportunity to overcome this difference will be telling. So, save your money and just watch this one. That's what I intend to do. I have a good opportunity to make some money in the first at Arlington today, so why take chances?