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Perfect Alibi's story holds up in Spinaway

Perfect Alibi's story holds up in Spinaway

Tough 2-year-old filly gets through on the rail to outduel Frank's Rockette
Perfect Alibi's story holds up in Spinaway
Perfect Alibi, right, hustles up on the rail to beat Frank's Rockette in the Grade I Spinaway.
Photographer: Erica Miller

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Perfect Alibi had an alibi -- if not a perfect one -- had she not won the Grade I Spinaway for 2-year-old fillies at Saratoga Race Course on Sunday.

She was stuck on what may not have been a favorable rail while dueling in tight quarters against the betting favorite, Frank's Rockette, down the stretch.

But she and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. hustled up through that small space and won by 1 1/4 lengths to push her almost-perfect record to three wins from four starts, two of which have been graded stakes at Saratoga.

"I wasn't sure she was going to get through there," trainer Mark Casse said. "I knew if she could just get her head in front, she'd be fine, because a lot of horses get intimidated, but, yeah ... what a nice filly. This filly's just a fighter. She keeps coming."

Despite having lost to Perfect Alibi by a half-length in the Grade II Adirondack at Saratoga four weeks ago, Frank's Rockette was favored not only on the morning line (8-5), but by the betting public (8-5), while Perfect Alibi was sent off at 5-1.

The seven-furlong distance of the Spinaway proved no obstacle to Perfect Alibi, who has increased a half-mile in each of her three starts since a 9 1/2-length win going five furlongs at Churchill Downs in her May 16 career debut.

She was in the back of the pack early, worked her way toward the front in the stretch drive and had just enough room inside Frank's Rockette and jockey Julien Leparoux and just enough racetrack left to win convincingly.

"She has a lot of heart," Ortiz said. "She showed she had a lot of fight in her last time out, as well, so I wasn't afraid to make that tight space with her. I didn't have too many options, and when I saw the space along the rail, I went for it."

"I knew going down the backside they [front-runners] were rolling, and I said to Jamie Begg, my assistant, they're going to come back," Casse said. "A great ride by Irad. I think the rail hasn't been the greatest place today, but it didn't seem to matter."

"She ran a good race as planned," Leparoux said of Frank's Rockette. "I think the distance might have got me today. Other than that, she ran a good race. It looks like, so far, she might want to go a little shorter. Maybe keep her at six, six and a half [furlongs]. She can do seven, but she got a little tired."

Casse, meanwhile, is looking forward to seeing how long Perfect Alibi will go, which he believes is just about any kind of distance.

Because owner Tracy Farmer is from Kentucky, the most likely next spot would be the Alcibiades at Keeneland on Oct. 4 instead of the Frizette at Belmont Park on Oct. 6.

"You look at her pedigree and you look at her physique, it [distance] shouldn't matter," Casse said. "What's amazing to me is how well she ran sprinting, because the first time I ran her, I told Mr. Farmer, 'She'll probably come running late and finish third or fourth,' and she won by 10 [9 1/2]. So that shows you what I know."

He does know this: Farmer likes to race his horses frequently, which Casse has been known to accommodate, which means that she'll point toward the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, which would be her sixth race in less than six months.

"I think she's proven she at least deserves a chance, right?" he said. "You know me, I like that. That doesn't bother me at all. We like to run."

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Mike MacAdam at 518-395-3146 or [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @Mike_MacAdam.

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