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Alabama to have field of 9

Summer in Saratoga

Alabama to have field of 9

Saratoga Notebook
Alabama to have field of 9
Jose Ortiz, atop March X Press, wins the Bolton Landing stakes Wednesday at Saratoga Race Course.
Photographer: Erica Miller

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saturday’s Grade I Alabama drew a field of nine 3-year-old fillies, including the top two from the Grade II Mother Goose at Belmont Park — Unchained Melody and Lockdown.

Abel Tasman, winner of the Coaching Club American Oaks, is not in the Alabama field, but runner-up Elate, third-place finisher Salty and fourth-place finisher Berned will be back.

The field, from the rail out, will be New Money Honey, Holy Helena, It Tiz Well, Lockdown, Unchained Melody, Salty, Elate, Mopotism and Actress.

Lockdown breezed Tuesday morning, covering four furlongs on the Oklahoma training track in 47.98, the fastest of 36 at the distance. She has run four bullet workouts since the Mother Goose, two at Saratoga.

“She went nice and galloped out well,” trainer Bill Mott told the New York Racing Association. “It will be a tougher group, but we’ll see what happens..”

Holy Helena has won three straight, including the Woodbine Oaks and the Queen’s Plate against males at Woodbine.

New Money Honey, trained by Todd Pletcher, will be making her first starter on the dirt after having won the Grade I Belmont Oaks on July 8.


Horse of the Year Arrogate will try to rebound from his mystifying fourth-place finish in the San Diego Handicap in the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Saturday.

He drew the outside post, No. 8, and was installed as the even-money favorite on the morning line.

“It’s a good draw, I’m happy with it,” trainer Bob Baffert told the Del Mar press office. “It’s not that big of a deal. In a mile-and-a-quarter race, there’s a long run to the turn to get positioned. I would have preferred to have Collected more outside, but he should be fine from where he is.”

Collected, also trained by Baffert, drew post No. 2.

On Monday, Arrogate, who won the Travers and Breeders’ Cup Classic last year before winning the Pegasus World Cup and Dubai World Cup this year, breezed four furlongs in :47.60 at Del Mar.

“He just cruised around there,” Baffert said after the workout. “We’re set.”

Regular exercise rider Martin Garcia said the 4-year-old colt had a slight issue with changing leads nearing the eighth pole, but Garcia got him to adjust and finish the work smoothly.

“I thought he looked good,” said Mike Smith, Arrogate’s race rider. “He looked happy to me.”

The Pacific Classic will cover the same mile and a quarter at Del Mar that will be used for the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The San Diego winner, Accelerate, is the 3-1 third choice from the No. 3 post for the Pacific Classic, after Collected at 5-2.

“I was happy to draw outside of Collected, so it’s a good draw for us,” Accelerate’s trainer John Sadler said. “It’s pretty simple. Collected is going to go the front, [Accelerate] is going to sit second and Arrogate is going to sit third.”

Collected is 3-for-3 this year, most recently the Precisionist in June 24.

Arrogate continues to lead the National Thoroughbred Racing Association national poll, with 35 of 45 first-place votes. Whitney owner Gun Runner is next, with eight first-place votes.


McCraken worked six furlongs in 1:16.23 under regular rider Brian Hernandez on the Oklahoma training track on Wednesday morning.

It was his penultimate breeze for the Travers on Saturday, Aug. 26.

“All was good. I’m very pleased,” ttrainer Ian Wilkes told the New York Racing Association. “He’s going to run a mile and a quarter, and if the horse is fit and happy, so the plan is to just maintain him. I didn’t want him to have a bullet work, so the main thing is to get some air into his lungs.”

McCraken is coming off a close runner-up to Girvin in the Haskell Invitational.


March X Press ran down Fairyland in deep stretch, completing a late rally to win her stakes debut by a half-length in the third running of the $100,000 Bolton Landing for juvenile fillies on Wednesday on the Mellon Turf course.

Buy Sell Hold and Fairyland dueled to set the pace in the 5 1/2-furlong sprint, with the former going a quarter-mile in 21.79 seconds before Fairyland edged ahead to go a half-mile in 44.15.

Ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Fairyland gained separation heading into the stretch. But Jose Ortiz bested his brother, riding March X Press on the outside and gaining ground before taking the lead in the final strides, hitting the wire in 1:01.69.

“[She is] a very talented filly. She came back in two weeks and I was a little worried about it, but she was ready to run,” Jose Ortiz said. “She broke much better today, I was happy to see that. I went through a tight hole around the three-sixteenths pole but she’s got a lot of heart, she made it through, and I think that’s the point where we won the race.”

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