Saratoga plays host to the esteemed Alabama Stakes this Saturday, and the Grade I, $600,000 event drew a worthy star indeed in SONGBIRD, who seeks her tenth straight win. She faces an assortment of six new and familiar three-year-old fillies, all of whom will be going further than they’ve ever gone before; 1 1/4 miles. If you think the presence of #6 SONGBIRD (1-5, morning-line favorite) detracts from the betting appeal of this race, feel free to try FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game instead!
SONGBIRD’s credentials are overwhelming. She’s compiled eight graded stakes victories, five of which are Grade I’s, and her most recent win came over this track in the CCA Oaks. The only variable is the extra furlong she’ll be asked to run, but it shouldn’t pose a problem as she’s never really looked tired in any of her races. Her pedigree doesn’t inhibit her from going 1 1/4 miles either. She’s the clear speed of the field (perhaps only #4 GO MAGGIE GO will be able to keep up with her), so this projects to be a walk in the park for her and rider Mike Smith.
GO MAGGIE GO is the second choice at 8-1, but seeing as she’ll likely have to do the dirty work keeping SONGBIRD honest early, I think she’s worth playing against.
#3 GOING FOR BROKE (10-1), 3-for-4 lifetime, represents Chad Brown in this race and will have Irad Ortiz Jr. in the saddle. Her first start at two turns occurred last time out over this course and it was a win, albeit a narrow one. I think she’ll move forward off that and have enough late energy to run into the exacta.
#1 DARK NILE (20-1) is worth throwing in as well at a huge price. She’s 4-for-5 lifetime, though she’s run exclusively at second-tier tracks like Tampa, Penn and Delaware. However, her Grade III Delaware Oaks win should not be discounted, and her speed figures aren’t that far off from where they need to be. She also has distance influence in her pedigree (by Pioneerof the Nile out of a Bernardini mare). Joe Bravo, who’s on a nice little run at Saratoga (11-3-1-1), has the mount.
The play: $10 exacta 6/1,3 ($20)
DFJ analysis: Mike Smith’s lone mount of the day is SONGBIRD, so we’ll have to look elsewhere. John Velazquez ($10,000) is set up to have a good day despite not riding in the Alabama. He’s on three live two-year-olds for Todd Pletcher, favored Green Mask in the Troy Stakes, and second-choice Ring Weekend in the Grade I Fourstardave, which was brought back after being rained out last week.
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