Dunbar Road faces several graded stakes winners in the Alabama
By New York Hot List Staff
Four graded stakes winners hope to upset the 8-5 favorite Dunbar Road in the $600,000 Alabama (G1) at Saratoga on Saturday as the 3-year-old fillies try the classic distance of a mile and a quarter on the main track for the first time.
Dunbar Road [PP-1] is the winner of three of her first four starts, including the Mother Goose (G2) on June 29 at Belmont for trainer Chad Brown. The daughter of Quality Road, who was purchased for $350,000 at the 2017 Keeneland September Sale, made her first start on March 3 when she rolled to an open-length victory in Florida. She then ran second to Alabama-contender Champagne Anyone in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2). Her three wins are by a combined 16 ¾ lengths including a 2 ½ length score in the recent Mother Goose.
Point of Honor [PP-7] is the 5-2 second choice based on her victory in the Black-Eyed Susan (G2) at Pimlico and her one-length defeat behind the current division leader Guarana in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) at the beginning of the Saratoga meeting.
“She’s bred to handle it [the ten furlongs] and this is the race we’ve had in the back of our minds for several months now,” trainer George Weaver said. “It’s going to be up to her and Javier [jockey Castellano] to figure out how to get the win. She was second in the Oaks last time. She has to go get it done, but it’s something we’re looking forward to.”
Lady Apple [PP-2] is 6-1 and the third choice after winning four of her last five starts with a third in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) being the only loss in that sequence. The Steve Asmussen runner won the Iowa Oaks (G3) and the Fantasy (G3) at Oaklawn Park.
Champagne Anyone [PP-4] was very well-respected in the spring after her victory in the Gulfstream Park Oaks. Since then she has a fourth in the Kentucky Oaks, but most recently was a disappointing fourth in the CCA Oaks. She comes to the Alabama with morning line odds of 10-1.
Street Band [PP-5], who also has 10-1 odds, is in fine form based on her victory in the Indiana Oaks (G3) last month. In the Kentucky Oaks, the Larry Jones trainee ran a very troubled seventh and before that she won the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2). British-born regular rider Sophie Doyle will be on board in Saratoga.
“In the Fair Grounds Oaks she settled down and did everything right and won it in good fashion,” explained Doyle. “As we carried on throughout the year, the Kentucky Oaks was obviously very tough. We had a rough trip ended up on the outside, but she still ran her race and I was really happy with her. They decided to freshen her up and go for the Indiana Oaks and she bounced back to good form, and her works since then have been really well done. Her work on Monday morning is exactly what we wanted to see with her. Galloped out in really good fashion. Stretching out to a mile and a quarter it was exactly what you want to see.”
The Alabama is the second leg of an all-stakes Cross-Country Pick 5 that includes the Pacific Classic at Del Mar.
Leg A: Saratoga (Race 9, 5:26 p.m.; Grade 2, $200,000 Lake Placid)
Leg B: Saratoga (Race 10, 5:59 p.m.; Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama)
Leg C: Del Mar (Race 7, 8:00 p.m.; Grade 2, $250,000 Del Mar Handicap)
Leg D: Del Mar (Race 9, 9:00 p.m.; Grade 1, $300,000 Del Mar Oaks)
Leg E: Del Mar (Race 10, 9:30 p.m.; Grade 1, $1 million Pacific Classic)
Picks for Saratoga on Saturday from the New York Hot List team are available free of charge on this website and include the Saturday Special Pick 3.