08/19/2005 11:00PM

Sweet Symphony aces test in Alabama

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Sweet Symphony, Jerry Bailey riding, keeps her record perfect, winning the Grade 1 Alabama by a stunning 6 1/4 lengths. She's now 4 for 4.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Sweet Symphony passed her class test in a big way Saturday, rolling past favored Spun Sugar in upper stretch and drawing clear for a 6 1/4-length victory in Saturday's Grade 1, $750,000 before 29,833 at Saratoga.

Spun Sugar held second by 1 1/4 lengths over R Lady Joy. Sis City, Dance Away Capote, For All We Know, and Ready and Alluring completed the order of finish.

It was the fourth victory in as many starts for Sweet Symphony, a daughter of A.P. Indy owned and bred by George Steinbrenner's Kinsman Stable. It was the first Alabama victory for Steinbrenner as well as trainer Bill Mott. Jockey Jerry Bailey won his fifth Alabama, all in the last nine years.

Sweet Symphony didn't make it to the races until a week after the Kentucky Oaks was run. But Sweet Symphony progressed rapidly, winning a maiden race on May 12, and allowance races in June and July. Sweet Symphony never was one to give more than she was asked, but on Saturday she gave Bailey all he needed.

The race unfolded as expected with Sis City, under Edgar Prado, making the early pace. She set fractions of 24.31 seconds, 48.86, and 1:13.43 with Spun Sugar, the 8-5 favorite under John Velazquez, stalking her from the outside. Bailey, meanwhile, had Sweet Symphony in a ground-saving fifth through the early stages.

Around the turn, Velazquez sent Spun Sugar after Sis City, but Bailey had Sweet Symphony on the move after Spun Sugar. Spun Sugar had the lead turning for home, but Sweet Symphony collared her by the three-sixteenths pole and drew away while kept to the task by Bailey.

Sweet Symphony covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:04.45 over a good main track and returned $9.60 as the second choice.

"You never know the answer to the question when you reach down and they have to give you everything they've got," Bailey said. "Today, she really didn't have to give me everything. She gave me more than she has before, but she got by them pretty easy."

Said Mott: "This filly was always just waiting for you to ask her to give the next gear. She always seems to have it when you ask her for it."

Mott, who won the 1997 Breeders' Cup Distaff with the 3-year-old Ajina, will likely map out a campaign that gets Sweet Symphony to the Distaff at Belmont Park on Oct. 29.

* A race before the Alabama, Velazquez broke an 0-for-34 skid at this meet by sneaking Funfair ($10.60) through on the rail turning for home and outfinishing even-money favorite Diamond Green to win the $67,200 Troy Stakes by three-quarters of a length. Funfair, owned by Cheveley Park Farm and trained by Graham Motion, covered the mile over a yielding inner turf course in 1:38.13.