Salty can give Gaffalione his first Grade I in the Alabama

The Grade I, $600,000 Alabama Stakes for three-year-old fillies is the feature at Saratoga this Saturday. A field of nine will be asked to go 1 1/4-miles on the main track in Race 9 of 10 on the day. Post time for the Alabama, which could go a long way in deciding the three-year-old filly Eclipse winner, is estimated for 5:40 p.m. EST. Don’t forget to check out FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

#6 SALTY (9-2) has been victimized by some very bad luck since her coming-out party in the Gulfstream Park Oaks. She was saddled with a bad post and steadied twice in the Kentucky Oaks before taking the overland route in the Acorn while Abel Tasman rode the rail. SALTY was effectively eliminated at the start in the CCA Oaks last time out after leaping out of the gate and going widest of all on the far turn. A reversal of fortune could be in order as Tyler Gaffalione takes over for Joel Rosario. He seeks his first Grade I win but has shown immense talent at Gulfstream this year. SALTY drilled a bullet in preparation for this, so she should be very dangerous. Just don’t expect to get 9-2 odds or better.

#5 UNCHAINED MELODY (3-1, morning-line favorite) steps up off a lifetime-best effort in the Grade II Mother Goose at Belmont. She drifted out considerably in the stretch but still held off #4 LOCKDOWN with ease that day. However, that drifting would suggest UNCHAINED MELODY may have some trouble negotiating the 10 furlongs of the Alabama. It’s worth noting Joel Rosario chose this one over SALTY.

#3 IT TIZ WELL (12-1) may need to improve in the speed figure department but her class can’t be denied. She rebounded off a tough trip in the Summertime Oaks with a score in the Delaware Oaks, topping #8 ACTRESS in the process. She also has a Grade III Honeybee win under her belt from earlier this year. She should be fairly close early under Drayden Van Dyke and may get first run at UNCHAINED MELODY.

The play: $6 exacta 6/5, $4 exacta 6/3 ($10)

DFJ analysis: Irad Ortiz Jr. has eight mounts on Saturday, six of which are 6-1 or below in odds. He kicks off the day atop Turbo Street, one of the likeliest winners on the card, in Race 1. His stakes mounts include Uni in the Lake Placid and ACTRESS in the Alabama.

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