Since 1999, five fillies have swept the Kentucky Oaks and the Alabama, and four later were named Champion Three-Year-Old Filly.
Saturday, Princess of Sylmar will attempt to join Silverbulletday
(1999), Flute (2001), Farda Amiga (2002), Proud Spell (2008), and Blind
Luck (2010) when she competes in the 133rd edition of
Saratoga Race Course's Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama at 1 ¼ miles. All
except Flute won the Eclipse Award for their division.
of Sylmar, who has won six of her past seven starts, enters the Alabama
off a six-length win in the Grade 1 TVG Coaching Club American Oaks on
July 20 at the Spa. No horse has won the Kentucky Oaks, Coaching Club,
and Alabama since Hall of Famer Open Mind swept the series in 1989.
easy winner of the Busanda and Busher over the inner track at Aqueduct
during the winter, Princess of Sylmar chased home Close Hatches when
second in the Grade 2 Gazelle in April on the Big A's main track.
her next start, Princess of Sylmar made up a 10-length deficit to post a
38-1 upset in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks in May at Churchill Downs and
validated that score with her easy victory in the TVG Coaching Club
American Oaks, also from off the pace.
Like her five opponents in the Alabama, Princess of Sylmar will be making her first start at 1 ¼ miles.
should excel with the added distance," said trainer Todd Pletcher of
Princess of Sylmar, a Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Majestic Warrior.
"She finished both the Kentucky Oaks and the Coaching Club very well,
indicating to me she wants more distance. She's easy to turn off in the
early part of the race and relaxes nicely, so that should also help."
of Sylmar, who races for Ed Stanco's King of Prussia Stable, drew post
position 4 and was installed as the 3-5 favorite on the morning line.
Javier Castellano has the call.
also will be represented by long shot Galloping Giraffe, owned by
Repole Stable. Galloping Giraffe broke her maiden by eight lengths in a
$65,000 maiden claiming race in June at Belmont Park and enters the
Alabama off a second in an entry-level allowance on July 31 at Saratoga.
a very big filly who tends to drop way back in her races, so we feel
like a mile and a quarter might suit her," said Pletcher. "Mike Repole
is ambitious and doesn't mind taking a shot with some of his horses, so
that's what we are doing with her."
Rajiv Maragh will ride Galloping Giraffe, 20-1 on the morning line, from post 2.
in from in California is Karl Watson, Michael Pegram, and Paul
Weitman's Fiftyshadesofhay, a three-time graded stakes winner.
by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Fiftyshadesofhay made four starts at
Santa Anita earlier this year, including a 5 ¾-length triumph in the
Grade 3 Santa Ysabel and a second in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes and Grade 1
Santa Anita Oaks, both won by champion Beholder. She has won two
straight outside her home state, rallying to take the Grade 2 Black-Eyed
Susan in May at Pimlico and coming from just off the pace to capture
the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks on June 29.
Hall of Famer John Velazquez will ride Fiftyshadesofhay, the 2-1 second choice, from post 6.
Alabama will be the stakes debut and fourth start overall for Carnival
Court, who broke her maiden by 12 ¾ lengths in May before winning an
optional claimer on July 7 at Belmont Park.
Owned by Darley Stable, Carnival Court is a half-sister to 2011 Alabama heroine and two-time champion Royal Delta.
trying to hit the board," said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who won the
2012 Alabama with Questing. "With her pedigree, if we finished third in a
Grade 1 it would make her worth so much money. She's by Street Sense
and is a half-sister to Royal Delta; that's why we're doing it. We think
she wants that distance, and not every 3-year-old does. But she'll have
to keep improving and have a good trip to be part of it."
Ortiz, Jr., who piloted Questing to victory in last year's Alabama,
will ride Carnival Court from post 5. The dark bay or brown filly was
installed at 15-1 on the morning line.
Alabama field also includes Montana Native, who won the restricted
Broom Dance Stakes on July 24 at Saratoga, and Tell a Great Story, who
won the Go for Wand in June before finishing third in the Grade 2
Delaware Oaks on July 13.