2017 Alabama Stakes Picks
Alabama Stakes Preview and Odds
Given that only two of the fillies in this deep field has raced at 1 1/4 miles, the race sets up as a tactiful affair where the jockeys are going to need to have a good sense of how much horse they have and when to make a move. To that end, Joel Rosario on morning line favorite Unchained Melody (3-1) will likely be looking to go to the front early and try and control the pace throughout.
Trained by Brian Lynch, this filly broke her maiden at first try and then ran second and first at the allowance level before stepping up to the graded-stakes ranks. She made that effort a winning one, taking the (G2) Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park by a comfortable three lengths, despite the fact she drifted out to the middle of the track in the stretch drive. If she can take another step forward in her professional development, she's a solid contender here.
Holy Helena Has Beaten the Boys
One that has gone the 1 1/4 miles distance to win in the past is Holy Helena (4-1) for trainer Jimmy Jerkens. Not only did she win at the distance, she did it going against males in the Queen's Plate at Woodbine, Canada's biggest race. There she tracked just off the pace to the top of Woodbine's long stretch drive before angling out to the five path and taking command to win going away. It could be argued she'll face tougher competiton here and will likely need to deal with a quicker pace, but talent-wise she seems like the real deal.
Breaking from the inside gate, trainer Chad Brown has New Money Honey (6-1) the winner of four of six lifetime, including the 2016 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. She also has a win at 1 1/4 miles, albeit on the turf at Belmont Park, where last out she captured the (G1) Belmont Oaks Invitational. There she raced just off the front-runners before taking command at the top of the stretch and then digging down to just hold off a fast-closing favorite at the wire. Prior to that she captured the (G3) Wonder Again Stakes, also on the Belmont turf. There's a lack of big-money turf races for three-year-old fillies in the United States, which explains why her connections have entered her here, and it will be interesting to see how she handles the switch to dirt.
Perhaps just a notch below those three, Lockdown (5-1) is nonetheless a legitimate threat, as she's finished in the top three in all six of her lifetime starts with a pair of wins. The last of three of those have come in graded-stakes company, and she overcame a bad stumble at the gate to get by most of the field in the Mother Goose, untimately finishing second to Unchained Melody.
Rounding out the top contenders, Elate (6-1) and Salty (9-2) come into the Alabama after finishing second and third, respectively, in the (G1) Coaching Club American Oaks behind four-time Grade 1 winner Abel Tasman. Both of these have a solid resume, with Elate never worse than third in seven career starts, while Salty has been in the money in five of six lifetime starts. Given a choice between the two of them, the nod here goes to Elate, given the fact her pedigree - she's sired by two-time BC Classic runner-up Medaglia d'Oro - suggests she more likely to handle the distance.
The 2017 Alabama Stakes goes Saturday, August 19 from Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York. Post time is 5:40 PM Eastern, and the race can be bet by going to the Today's Tracks tab on most of our top rated online racebooks.
Alabama Stakes Entries w/ML Odds
- New Money Honey (6-1)
- Holy Helena (4-1)
- It Tiz Well (12-1)
- Lockdown (5-1)
- Unchained Melody (3-1)
- Salty (9-2)
- Elate (6-1)
- Mopotism (20-1)
- Actress (15-1)
Alabama Stakes Picks
- 1st - #2 Holy Helena
- 2nd - #1 New Money Honey
- 3rd - #5 Unchained Melody
- 4th - #4 Lockdown
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