By Matt Shifman
The fillies must go ten-furlongs in the Alabama Stakes
The 2018 Alabama Stakes marks the 138th running of this Saratoga ten-furlong test for 3-year-old fillies. Midnight Bisou and Talk Veuve to Me head the field of eight which will compete for the $600,000 purse.
The Alabama is run at the rare distance of a mile and a quarter, so it is essential for handicappers to think about which of the fillies are best equipped to handle the distance.
Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Midnight Bisou has never finished off the board and sports an impressive career record of 8: 4-3-1. Her wins include a Grade 1, 2, and 3 out in California and she is the leading money winner in this field. Her last victory was an easy one in the Mother Goose (G2) at Belmont Park. Most recently, she was second behind Monomoy Girl in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) at Saratoga.
“The filly has consistently done extremely well and we’re obviously very excited about her chances,” said Asmussen.
Talk Veuve to Me comes to the Alabama after an easy 4 ¾ length victory in the Indiana Oaks (G3). After breaking her maiden in March at the Fair Grounds for trainer Rodolphe Brisset, Veuve jumped right up to graded stakes company where she finished second to the top fillies Mia Mischief in the Eight Belles (G2) at Churchill Downs and then Monomoy Girl in the Acorn (G1) at Belmont Park.
“We can’t be overconfident, [but] you look at the numbers, the replays and the PPs, and we’re right there,” said Brisset. “She deserves a shot.
“Last time, [she] was very impressive going for the first time around two turns, so if she can replicate that race and do it going a mile and a quarter, it could be an interesting race,” he added. “Luckily for me, I’ve been able to ride her for the last six months; I breeze her all the time and I know the filly pretty well. She could actually be a better filly going around two turns.”
Asmussen also has the recent winner of the Iowa Oaks (G3) She’s a Julie in the field. She has an established record around two-turns and earned the highest speed figure of her career at Prairie Meadows.
“She’s coming off a huge win and she’s trained really well up here,” said Asmussen. “Obviously, it’s a big step up for her and caliber of competition, but she’s done all the work.”
The Dale Romans trainee Coach Rocks comes to Saratoga having finished second twice behind the very talented Red Ruby. Earlier in the year, this daughter of Oxbow was the winner of the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2). Like so many in this field, Coach Rocks gets some class relief without the presence of the division leaders Monomoy Girl, Wonder Gadot, and Red Ruby.
The compete field of eight includes: 1-Piedi Bianchi [15-1], 2-Eskimo Kisses [6-1], 3-Midnight Bisou [7-5], 4-She’s a Julie [9-2], 5-Auspicious Babe [30-1], 6-Figarella’s Queen [15-1], 7-Coach Rocks [10-1], and 8-Talk Veuve to Me [5-2].
The Alabama is slated as race 9 out of 10 on Saturday’s card with post time scheduled for 5:40 pm ET.