While Saturday’s $600,000 Alabama (G1) did not draw the division leader Monomoy Girl, a solid field of eight three-year-old fillies will line up in the fixture at Saratoga.
The Steve Asmussen trained Midnight Bisou is the 7-5 morning line favorite with Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith dropping into the Spa for the ride. She has been beaten by Monomoy Girl in two of her last three start and her connections must be happy that rival is waiting for the Cotillion (G1) at Parx Racing next month.
The Alabama was first run in 1872 and has been won by some nice fillies including Go for Wand, Blind Luck, Royal Delta, Songbird and last year’s winner Elate.
Midnight Bisou will be a short price but she faces several talented fillies including Indiana Oaks (G3) winner Talk Veuve to Me (5-2), Iowa Oaks (G3) winner She’s a Julie (9-2), Ashland (G1) runner up Eskimo Kisses (6-1), Delaware Oaks (G2) runner up Coach Rocks (10-1) and multiple Grade 1 placed Piedi Bianchi (15-1).
So why not go with one of the least accomplished runners in Figarella’s Queen? She is a stakes winner on turf and hard to knock anything trainer Brad Cox sends out, the trainer hitting at a 29% clip overall in 2018.
The co-feature on today’s card at the Spa is the $300,000 Lake Placid (G2) for three-year-old fillies on turf. Seven were entered including last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner Rushing Fall. There is rain in the forecast for Friday and Saturday and Mother Nature has not been kind so far during the Saratoga meeting.
Let’s head out to the Spa for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Saratoga Race 9 The Alabama (G1) Post time 5:40 ET
6 Figarella’s Queen 15-1
3 Midnight Bisou 7-5
2 Eskimo Kisses 6-1
8 Talk Veuve to Me 5-2
Figarella’s Queen stalked the early pace and could not get to Talk Veuve to Me in the Indiana Oaks (G3), coming up 4 3/4 lengths short to the chalk. It was just her second start going long on the main track. She won the Sanibel Island on turf going a mile back in March at Gulfstream Park. She failed to fire in her first start for Cox when she was ninth in the Edgewood (G3) on turf but looks headed in the right direction on dirt and she looks as if she should be able to handle the distance. She is by Medaglia d’Oro out of a Rock Hard Ten mare. Ortiz picks up the call and she is going to be a generous price in this spot. She could be sitting on a big one here. An off track likely would not slow her down.
Midnight Bisou rolled to a six-length win in the Mother Goose (G2) two back and could not get to the talented Monomoy Girl last out when second in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) here going nine furlongs. She also ran behind that foe three back when making a good late run to finish third in the Kentucky Oaks (G1). She fires every time, landing in the exacta in seven of her eight starts with one third. She won over a wet fast surface at Santa Anita and has a decent off track pedigree if the rains come. She is by Midnight Lute out of the stakes winner Diva Delite ($300,067) who won the 2010 Florida Oaks (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Asmussen is having a strong Spa meeting and Mike Smith is in to ride. She will be tough, but her price is going to be on the short side.
Eskimo Kisses stalked the early pace and did not have any punch in the stretch in a fourth-place finish in the CCA Oaks which was her first go off a 2 ½ month break. She was second in the Ashland (G1) and fourth in the Kentucky Oaks behind Monomoy Girl. She should be tighter today for McPeek and if she gets some pace to run at she can be heard from late at a decent price.
WIN: Figarella’s Queen to win at 10-1 or better.
EXACTA: 3,6 / 2,3,6,8
TRIFECTA: 3,6 / 2,3,6,8 / 2,3,4,6,8