The $600,000 Alabama Stakes is a major showcase for 3-year-old fillies, who, like their male counterparts, have taken turns besting each other in this competitive campaign. Here is a look at the major contenders, odds, betting analysis, and a couple of picks.
The race has a 5:45 p.m. ET post time Saturday at Saratoga.
Odds, Picks & Betting Overview for Saturday’s Alabama Stakes
Here is the field for the $600,000 Grade 1 Alabama Stakes, including post positions, morning-line odds, jockeys, and trainers.
|PP. 1 Sacred Wish||John Velazquez||George Weaver||8-1|
|PP. 2 Wet Paint||Flavien Prat||Brad Cox||5-2|
|PP. 3 Julia Shining||Luis Saez||Todd Pletcher||9-2|
|PP. 4 Sabra Tuff||Reylu Gutierrez||Dallas Stewart||30-1|
|PP. 5 Fireline||Javier Castellano||Chad Brown||12-1|
|PP. 6 Chocolate Gelato||Jose Ortiz||Todd Pletcher||12-1|
|PP. 7 Gambling Girl||Irad Ortiz Jr.||Todd Pletcher||6-1|
|PP. 8 Randomized||Joel Rosario||Chad Brown||8-1|
|PP. 9 Taxed||Rafael Bejarano||Randy Morse||8-1|
|PP. 10 Defining Purpose||Brian Hernandez Jr.||Kenny McPeek||6-1|
Betting Considerations for Alabama Stakes
Keep an open mind along with an open wallet. None of these competitors have gone this 1 1-4-mile distance. Some may like it, while others will be hurt by it.
This is the type of setup that often breeds surprises.
Just two weeks ago, Cody’s Wish had nothing left at a new distance of 1 1 -8 miles and flopped at 2-to-5 betting odds in the Whitney, finishing third.
Contenders in this race have come up big at different times. Looks players will develop an angle on who they think looks ready in the post-parade 10 minutes out.
Major Alabama Stakes Contenders
No. 1 Sacred Wish
Delivered a fantastic effort in the Coaching Club, nearly snaring the $500,000 event before being nipped at the wire by Wet Paint. Made a smart stalking move at 10-1, was just overrun by a talented opponent.
No. 2 Wet Paint
Terrific run to overhaul Sacred Wish in the Coaching Club. Both horses left Gambling Girl in their dust, a distant third. Has an exceptional record in her young career. Will be considered the one to beat. May go off short money, which is no bargain for a distance nobody in the field has done.
Makes late major moves, but often starts from the back. Price will be important. In a big field, should be longer than even-money, perhaps in the 7-5 or 8-5 range. But if bettors make her shorter than that, many gamblers will seek exotics wagering.
No. 3 Julia Shining
Lightly raced, has not competed since the Ashland in early April. Won the Demoiselle at 1 1-8 miles in New York at second asking. Made a good rally in the Ashland, finishing 2 1-2 lengths behind longshot winner Defining Purpose.
Credentials. Layoff could be a concern. Nothing says she can’t be in the exotics ticket.
N0. 10 Defining Purpose
Delivered a rousing 20-1 upset in the Grade I Ashland, nipping Julia Shining. Later buried by Gambling Girl in the Kentucky Oaks and came back to win the Indiana Oaks.
Argument can be made that 1 1-16 miles is her top distance but otherwise has been able to compete with these horses. Major distance jump needed, but should be a big price.
No. 9 Taxed
Brilliant performance at 10-1 to win the Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico. Beat Sacred Wish, a contender in this field. On her best, is right with these. Backers can hope that the Wet Paint hype lets Taxed slide down into the range of being a price.
No. 7 Gambling Girl
Just didn’t have it in the American Coaching Club. Spit the bit early in the homestretch. Backers will remember her second in the Kentucky Oaks and give her a pass. Skeptics will consider her a horse that has hit her peak and may be over-bet.
On the Fringes at Alabama Stakes
No. 8 Randomized
Domineering performance in winning the minor-stakes Wilton at Saratoga. Only a four-horse field, but she surged to the lead under Irad Ortiz and wired the group. Managed a 97 Beyer.
Figures to set the pace in the larger field. May be pressured by Defining Purpose. Could be in trouble if anyone presses. Ortiz goes off of her and takes Gambling Girl. That’s not an endorsement.
If she gets an unpressured lead, could stay in the trifecta ticket.
Alabama Stakes Non-Contenders
You have to draw a line someplace. These are the three I can’t make room for on my win ticket.
No. 4 Sabra Tuff
Beaten by Wonder Wheel and Pretty Mischievous. Has not won in last eight. Not as good as these.
No. 5 Fireline
Bet down to 3-5 in the Grade III Delaware Oaks and was clearly beaten. Connections must believe that race was merely a stumble. On paper, does not fit.
No. 6 Chocolate Gelato
Promising victory in the Frizette offset by 12th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup. Took a layoff and came back with a six-furlong race. Does not seem ready yet.
Alabama Stakes Picks
Here are some bets to consider for Saturday’s Alabama.
Will reserve until post time. I like Wet Paint at 8-5 or above for a small play, but will not invest at a lower price.
Backup Bet: 1 (Sacred Wish).
Rationale: Just missed in last and could be a good price.
Spot-Play Stab: 9 (Taxed).
Rationale: I love the Pimlico race and will put a couple bucks there if Wet Paint is prohibitive. Second-itis for sure, especially to Wet Paint, but you never know when the day comes that Wet Paint waits too long to make the big move.
Box: 1-2 (Sacred Wish, Wet Paint).
Cost: $4 for every $2 exacta box.
Rationale: I’ll bite. They staged a terrific duel in the Coaching Club and would leave the field behind if they could come back to that effort.
Disclaimer: Did they leave their best race on the track that day? What did it take out of them? That was back on July 22, has enough time passed for them to run their best again?
Cover Box: 2-9 (Wet Paint, Taxed).
Cost: $4 for every $2 box.
Rationale: Taxed beat Sacred Wish in an earlier race. Nothing says he can’t do it again and combine with the most proven horse in the race.
Box: 1-2-9 (Sacred Wish, Wet Paint, Taxed).
Rationale: A hunch that Taxed can hit the board.
50-cent Trifecta Box: 1-2-9-10 (Sacred Wish, Wet Paint, Taxed, Defining Purpose).
Rationale: Hard to separate top group. Looks like Defining Purpose will get the first crack at Randomize.
Good luck hitting this. There should be some good prices, especially underneath, as bettors wonder who will be Queen for a Day.