HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, August 20- 2021 – Another big Summer Saturday with storied classics and nuevo classics with Breeders’ Cup implications on the racing docket.
At Saratoga, the legendary and, with apologies to the Kentucky Oaks, arguably most prestigious event for three-year-old fillies, the mile-and-a-quarter Alabama, taking the lead as the Saratoga featured event.
The Grade 1 filly classic is supported nicely by the Grade 2 Lake Placid for females that prefer turf to dirt, or at least those with a greater affinity to that surface. Chad Brown will saddle the formidable Technical Analysis (6-5) but this six-horse lineup is no walkover for the favorite.
As for the Alabama, let’s just dub it “Malathaat’s Revenge.” The formerly undefeated giant daughter of Curlin was a victim of circumstances in her lone defeat.
With no early speed signed on and her leaving for the pole, needing to secure her position into the lower first turn, Johnny Velazquez needed to go on with it. Consequently, she was taken out of her best game, not only compelled to take the lead but repel multiple challengers.
Taking nothing away from the winning Marajuca who benefitted from adroit Ricardo Santana handling and the two-turn dynamic, she was able to upset the divisional leader. But today’s trip does benefit the former as opposed to the latter.
Malathaat is even money to reverse the Coaching Club American Oaks result, Maracuja the clear cut 7-2 second favorite to sweep both Grade 1s for the young ladies.
Alas, it’s not the day’s headliner, and that event is on the other sides of the country. As if $1 million isn’t enough of an incentive, the Grade 1 Pacific Classic is a “win-and-in” Breeders’ Cup Classic entrée.
And unlike the Alabama, this mile and a quarter surf-and-turf signature event is extremely wide open. We’ve done only the preliminary’s and we left five horses leaving from the first five post positions open in the nine-horse lineup.
Two of the five are trained b y Richard Mandella, who knows a thing or two about winning the event, including second choice Royal Ship (7-2) and co-third choice Tizamagician (5-1) with leading rider Flavien Prat.
The favorite is John Shirreffs’ Express Train, who’s had two money finishes in as many 10-furlong tries despite his lengthy pedigree, the underperformance countered by his record at the Oceanside oval where he’s compiled a (4) 3-1-0 slate. Regular partner Juan Hernandez is in the boot.
The Classic is the penultimate leg of a Cross Country Pick 5 featuring five graded stakes from Saratoga and Del Mar.
SARATOGA RACE COURSE
G2 LAKE PLACID STAKES
A: 2-Technical Analysis (6-5), 6-Spanish Loveaffair (3-1)
B: 4-Runaway Rumour (7-2), Ego Trip (6-1)
C: 1-Illogami (15-1)
Grade 1 ALABAMA STAKES
A: 5-Malathaat (1-1)
B: 4-Maracuja (7-2)
C: 7-Army Wife (6-1), 3-Clairiere (6-1), 1-Crazy Beautiful (6-1)
DEL MAR RACE COURSE
Grade 1 DEL MAR OAKS
A: 3-Going Global (9-5)
B: 7-Fluffy Socks 4-1), 4-Madone (5-2)
C: 1-Closing Remarks (6-1), 9-Soaring Sky (12-1), 5-Feathers (20-1)
Grade 1 PACIFIC CLASSIC
A: 4-Royal Ship (7-2), 1-Tripoli (5-1), 5-Express Train (3-1), 3-Dr. Post (4-1), 2-Tizamagician (5-1)
G2 DEL MAR HANDICAP
A: 8-Arklow (5-2), 4-United (2-1)
B: 5-Masteroffoxhounds (8-1), 6-Masterpiece (15-1)
C: 11-Say the Word (6-1)
Note that multiple horses in any category are preferred in order listed. Vertical players note that B’s and C’s can be upgraded but should not exceed more than one level