Alabama Stakes Entries: Malathaat leads deep field of seven

Todd Pletcher sends out Malathaat who is looking to avenge a shock loss last time out here at Saratoga
Todd Pletcher sends out Malathaat who is looking to avenge a shock loss last time out here at Saratoga

The $600,000 Grade I Alabama Stakes is the feature race on Saturday's card at Saratoga and Neil Monnery thinks one filly is the class of the field. He does however concede that several of the other six entries are more than interesting.

He has some initial thoughts following the Post Position draw...

Alabama Stakes 2021 Entries & Post Positions
  • Post Position
  • Horse

Post Position

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  • Crazy Beautiful
  • Will's Secret
  • Clairiere
  • Maracuja
  • Played Hard
  • Malathaat
  • Army Wife

We all love a good rematch don’t we? Brady-Manning was always great theater, Nadal-Federer is never not a joy to watch, Balboa-Creed was the fight the whole world wanted to see, wait that last one may have only happened in the movies but a few weeks ago, nobody thought a rematch in the three-year-old filly division would’ve been all that.

Yet when Maracuja shocked many by narrowly defeating Malathaat at the Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks in the early days of this Saratoga meet, suddenly it was a rematch that many around the sport were more than interested in seeing.

Everyone will get their chance as both horses have been entered as part of a seven-deep field for the Grade I Alabama Stakes this Saturday. The former is coming off of that shock victory that vaulted this daughter of multiple Grade I winner Honor Code (who was undefeated in two starts at the Spa) into the mix to be the top three-year-old filly in the nation. A spot that had looked all but wrapped up having taken out both the Grade I Ashland and Kentucky Oaks.

Personally, I’m not off the Malathaat train and my leg isn’t even dangling off the side. I still think she’s the best three-year-old filly in the country and fully expect her to avenge that defeat from last month. No doubt when the Morning Line odds come out, this daughter of the wonderful eight-time Grade I winner Curlin will be a short price favorite and the pools will be swelled by money for her.

Trainer Kenny McPeek though will like his chances with Crazy Beautiful who drew the inside post. A substandard run at the Kentucky Oaks saw many remove her from consideration at the top of this division but she has won three times this year - all at Graded Stakes level. The issue with this horse is the quality of competition in the races she’s won is relatively weak. For me she’s the wildcard heading into the starting gate.

Clairiere started her season strongly by winning the Grade II Rachel Alexandra back in February down at Fair Grounds. Since then though this Steve Asmussen filly has failed to win but has run strongly in good fields. Definitely one to consider (and use) in your exotics come betting time.

Dallas Stewart sends out Will’s Secret who finished a poor sixth on her return to the track after finishing third in the Kentucky Oaks. A sixth place finish in the Indiana Oaks can be written off as an anomaly somewhat considering her excellent previous form in competitive fields. That run however may see her odds drift to the point where she becomes worth a flyer.

Whilst Malathaat looks like the best horse in the field, Michael Maker will be sending out Army Wife who is incredibly intriguing. She took out the Grade II Black Eyed Susan before victory in the Grade III Iowa Oaks over at Prairie Meadows. This filly has only faced top tier opposition once back in April at the Grade II Gazelle. That day she finished third to Search Results and Maracuja. I think she’s better now and think she’s worth considering once again if the price is right.

Philip Bauer has entered Played Hard to round out the field of seven. This will be a huge step up in class for the daughter of Into Mischief but she won last time out at Saratoga in an Allowance race.

This is a fun race and J.N. Campbell will be here on Friday afternoon to cover it as part of his handicapping of Saturday’s card at Saratoga...

Saratoga Picks, Entries and Results
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