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Alabama Stakes Quick Picks
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Alabama Stakes Quick Picks

by Laurie RossAugust 20, 2021

The $600,000 Alabama Stakes (G1) is a version of the Belmont Stakes (G1) for fillies. This may be one of the only times in their career that these 3-year-old fillies will stretch to ten furlongs. The event is carded as race ten on Saturday at Saratoga with a post time of 6:13 E.T.

#6 Malathaat (1-1)

Malathaat is the even-money favorite for a good reason. She has won five of six lifetime starts, including this year’s Kentucky Oaks (G1). Her only loss was in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) at Saratoga in her last start, losing by a head to the longshot Maracuja after being softened up on the pace. However, Malathaat has tactical speed and doesn’t need the lead to win. Additionally, she is bred to love ten furlongs. Win contender.

#4 Maracuja (7-2)

Maracuja lived up to the promise she showed in the Gazelle Stakes (G2) in April, putting forth a career-best effort in the CCA Oaks (G1) to best Malathaat by a head, becoming the only filly ever to beat that rival. Previously, Maracuja ran the worst race of her career, finishing seventh in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) after being farther back than she liked and getting stuck on the rail.  The Rob Atras trainee earned a career-best 102-speed figure in the CCA Oaks. The $600,000 question is whether she can maintain her form in the Alabama Stakes or if she will regress off the monster effort.  Win contender. 

#7 Army Wife (6-1)

Army Wife is brought to you by the same trainer/jockey combo as last year’s Alabama winner, Swiss Skydiver.  Army Wife isn’t as accomplished as her stablemate, yet she’s improving at the right time.  She easily beat Grade 2 and Grade 3 companies in her last two starts, and the Ken McPeek trainee owns a 106 Brisnet late-pace speed figure, the highest in the field. Exotics.

#3 Clairiere (6-1)

Clairiere missed a second place in the Kentucky Oaks by a photo finish to Will’s Secret and then racked up two additional third-place finishes in the Mother Goose (G2) and the CCA Oaks (G1). So while the Steve Asmussen trainee isn’t in the same class and the top pair, she is worth a serious look to fill out the exotics. Exotics.

#1 Crazy Beautiful (6-1)

Crazy Beautiful has finished off the board only twice in her career, both times in Grade 1 events. After her tenth place finish in the Kentucky Oaks, Crazy Beautiful captured the Summer Oaks (G2) and the Delaware Oaks (G3). The Ken McPeek trainee has never raced beyond a mile and a sixteenth, and her pedigree suggests that ten furlongs will be too far. However, she drew the rail position and will have the opportunity to take the short way around the track, so perhaps she can maintain position and grab an exotics spot. Use her if playing multiple bets; otherwise, toss.

#2 Will’s Secret (15-1)

Will’s Secret’s third-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks was a surprise since she was no threat to Malathaat in the Ashland Stakes. The Dallas Stewart trainee regressed in her last race, the Indiana Oaks (G3), finishing sixth and beaten 8 1/4-lengths. Will’s Secret’s speed figures are the lowest in the Alabama Stakes, and she will need a vast form reversal to be relevant. Toss.

#5 Play Hard (15-1) 

Although Play Hard owns the field’s second-highest late-pace figure of 105, she takes a huge jump in class after beating allowance winners in her last start. The trainer Philip Bauer trainee prefers to set the pace; however, her pedigree is borderline for ten furlongs. Her only shot to win is if leading rider Luis Saez slows the pace to a crawl in hopes of stealing the race. Toss.

Alabama Stakes Analysis

The favorite has won or placed third in nine of the last ten editions of the Alabama Stakes.

Eight of the ten winners were prepped in the CCA Oaks.

The pace presser running style was most successful.

The Alabama Stakes is Malathaat’s race to lose. She fended off multiple challenges throughout the CCA Oaks and was nipped on the wire by Maracuja in that one’s career-best effort. Although there are only five fillies in Alabama, Play Hard is the confirmed pacesetter, which gives jockey John Velazquez the chance to keep Malathaat slightly off the pace.

Maracuja had everything her way in the CCA Oaks, plus she has a victory at Saratoga. However, she is the major threat to Malathaat and may have to rally into a slow pace.

#6 Malathaat (1-1)

#4 Maracuja (7-2)

#7 Army Wife (6-1)

#3 Clairiere (6-1)


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About The Author
Laurie Ross
Laurie is a handicapper, pedigree consultant, and published author. Her work has been featured on numerous prominent racing websites and she is a reoccurring guest on sports radio programs. She is also a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association. Her yearly publications contain tremendous insight and value for bettors and horsemen. The Freshmen Sire Guide has received accolades from leading trainers and handicappers and her Triple Crown guides are a best-selling feature.