The 140th running of the $500,000, Grade 1 Alabama drew a field of seven 3-year-old fillies who will try the mile and a quarter distance for the first time.
The Alabama also offers Kentucky Oaks qualifying points (100-40-20-10) for the top four finishers. Any fillies going from this historic Saratoga race to the first Friday in September at Churchill Downs will do so with only 20 days between starts but will cut back in distance to a mile and eighth.
The race also serves as a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, which is scheduled to be run at Keeneland on Nov. 7.
The Alabama is carded as race 9 out of 11 with post time scheduled for 5:43 p.m. ET. Here is a full-field analysis for the Alabama with morning line odds from the Horse Racing Nation staff.
|Envoutante [Uncle Mo – K. McPeek/J. Ortiz – 6: 2-1-2 - $125,748]|
Translated from French, envoutante means bewitching. The daughter of Uncle Mo was last seen running evenly in third in the Ashland (G1). She won an allowance race at Churchill while rallying from off the pace going two turns, but she has also been successful racing on the lead. Envoutante currently sits in 19th on the points list for the Kentucky Oaks. Trainer Kenny McPeek won the Alabama in 2018 with Eskimo Kisses with Jose Ortiz, who has won this historic stake the past three years. Versatile, use underneath
|Spice Is Nice [Curlin – T. Pletcher/J. Velazquez – 4: 2-1-0 - $106,080]|
The name Spice is Nice is a nod to her breeder Bobby Flay, who sold her as a yearling for $1.05 million. She broke her maiden in a first-time effort at Gulfstream Park by 12 lengths for trainer Todd Pletcher. She was second in the Davona Dale (G2) and then got overwhelmed by Swiss Skydiver in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2). She had a brief freshening and came back to win a Belmont Park allowance easily by running close to the pace. Spice is Nice is No. 18 on the points list for the Kentucky Oaks. Pletcher has two previous wins in the Alabama in 2013 and 2014. Stalker, use underneath
Crystal Ball [Malibu Moon – B. Baffert /J. Castellano – 3: 1-1-1 - $106,000]
Crystal Ball has been spending the summer at Saratoga, where she set the early pace in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) and lost a battle by a head in the nine furlongs at the wire to Paris Lights. She stayed at the Spa to train for the Alabama. She will need to carry her speed an additional furlong, which may be a challenge. Trainer Bob Baffert’s only win in the Alabama came in 1999 with Silverbulletday. Crystal Ball currently sits in 15th on the points list for the Kentucky Oaks. Speed, toss
Bonny South [Munnings – B. Cox/I. Ortiz Jr. – 5: 3-0-0 - $343,350]
This Brad Cox filly was an impressive winner of the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) in March by more than two lengths after rallying late. She then was bet down to 3.90-1 in the Ashland (G1), where she ran fourth all the way around the track. Since then, she has been training at Churchill Downs. Bonny South currently sits in third on the points list for the Kentucky Oaks. It is worth noting that the Cox barn has been very cold at Saratoga, winning at an uncharacteristically low 13%. Closer, win contender
|Swiss Skydiver [Daredevil – K. McPeek/Tyler Gaffalione – 8: 4-2-1 - $667,980]|
This Kenny Mc Peek runner has dominated the 3-year-old filly division with three front-running graded-stakes wins in a row, including a win on the West Coast. She then took on the boys in the Blue Grass (G2) losing to only Art Collector, who is currently on a winning streak of his own. She will try to get her first Grade 1 victory in the Alabama. Swiss Skydiver is in first place on the points list for the Kentucky Oaks and in 13th for the Kentucky Derby. Presser, top Choice
|Harvey's Lil Goil [American Pharoah – B. Mott/J. Alvarado – 5: 3-0-0 - $154,529]|
This daughter of American Pharoah has won three of her last four starts, which include the Regret (G3) on the turf at Churchill in June and the Busanda at Aqueduct in February. She, like others in this field, ran into Swiss Skydiver and did not do well that day. Bill Mott has had her training at Saratoga since winning in Kentucky last time. Harvey’s Lil Goil currently is 22nd on the points list for the Kentucky Oaks. Mott has three previous wins in the Alabama in 2017, 2011 and 2005. Stalker, win contender
|Fire Coral [Curlin – S. Asmussen/R. Santana Jr. – 6: 2-0-0 - $133,980]|
Fire Coral did her best running in the winter at Oaklawn Park, where she broke her maiden and then came right back to win an allowance on the front end. Since then, she did not run well against tougher competition, including two Grade 3 stakes. Speed, toss