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McLaughlin Eyeing Grade I Whitney for Alpha

Alpha, dead-heat winner of the 2012 Travers, prepped for his return to Saratoga with a half-mile breeze over the main track on Saturday.


The 4-year-old son of Bernardini went out after the renovation break and was timed in 51.77 seconds for four furlongs. It was his first work since finishing fourth of five in the Grade 2 Suburban on July 6 at Belmont Park.


“It was just a maintenance work,” said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who is eyeing the Grade 1 Whitney for Alpha. “It’s going to be a tough race, but he likes Saratoga, so we’ll see.”


Alpha is 3-for-3 at Saratoga, having won the Grade 2 Jim Dandy prior to his dead-heat victory with Golden Ticket in the $1 million Travers. He won his career debut at the Spa on September 3, 2011.


“[The track] was kind of weird today because it was wet, but it’s no big deal. He was fine,” McLaughlin said. “It was just a little half-mile. He’s fit and ready. He’ll have to work back next week, and we’ll make a decision.”


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