Continuing her dominance of the 3-year-old filly division, Princess of Sylmar registered an easy victory in the 133rd renewal of the Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga on Saturday.
of Sylmar now has won seven of her past eight starts and becomes the
first filly since Hall of Famer Open Mind in 1989 to sweep the Kentucky
Oaks, Coaching Club American Oaks, and Alabama.
as the 1-2 favorite in the field of five, Princess of Sylmar was never
far off the pace as she raced in fourth through an opening half-mile in
48.16 seconds and three quarters in 1:12.77.
three-eighths to travel, Javier Castellano angled Princess of Sylmar
into the four path, and she swooped to the lead. Comfortably in front
turning for home, the daughter of Majestic Warrior needed only mild
urging to find the wire 2 ½ lengths to the good of Fiftyshadesofhay, who
finished 3 ¾ lengths ahead of third-place finisher Carnival Court.
a small field, there was not much to think about," said Castellano.
"The way I handicapped the race, three horses had the speed, and the way
it unfolded it was the perfect trip for her. She's a come-from-behind
horse. I just let her enjoy the trip and when she was ready to go I
asked her, and she just took off. She went right by them. She's an
amazing horse. Everything we've asked, she has responded so well so
Princess of Sylmar, a Pennsylvania-bred, returned $3 for a $2 win wager and completed 1 ¼ miles in 2:03.21.
wasn't a whole lot of pace," said winning trainer Todd Pletcher, who
earned his first Alabama victory. "She was doing it on her own; she was
in a nice rhythm, so I thought she was in a perfect spot. I thought she
won pretty convincingly. Anytime you run a mile and a quarter, it can be
a taxing race, but I thought she did it well within herself."
1999, five fillies have won both the Kentucky Oaks and the Alabama, and
four later were named Champion Three-Year-Old Filly.
Kentucky Oaks, Coaching Club American Oaks - that's a pretty hard
trifecta to win, so I'll say she has definitely established herself as
the Champion Three-Year-Old Filly, unless somebody does something
[big]," said Pletcher.
by Ed Stanco's King of Prussia Stable, Princess of Sylmar won her first
stakes in January when she took the Busanda at Aqueduct, and one month
later she added another easy score in the Busher. After finishing second
to Close Hatches in the Grade 2 Gazelle in April at the Big A, she
posted a 38-1 upset in the Kentucky Oaks in May at Churchill Downs, and
entered the Alabama off a six-length win in the Grade 1 TVG Coaching
Club American Oaks on July 20 at Saratoga.
Overall, she is 7-1-0 in nine starts and has earned $1,367,220, including $360,000 for her Alabama win.
Pletcher said plans for Princess of Sylmar will be decided at a later date.
don't think we'll make a decision right away," said Pletcher. "We never
make decisions right after a race, but Ed [Stanco] is committed to
running her next year, and, who knows, maybe even as a 5-year-old. At
some point you don't want to be greedy, but at the same time she is
doing unbelievably well, and sometimes you have to take advantage of
that, so we have some thinking to do."
Galloping Giraffe edged Montana Native for fourth. Tell a Great Story was scratched.