1989 Alabama Stakes

For those hard-to-please critics who had been complaining that Open Mind is a brilliant horse with a bland style, the 3-year-old filly responded with a gritty performance on a rainy day at Saratoga. At the top of the stretch of the $232400 Alabama Stakes, Open Mind's chances appeared to be as gloomy as the day itself. She was ahead of only one horse, stablemate Lea Lucinda. She trailed the front-running Dearly Loved by more than five lengths and was running in the middle of the track, where the muddy surface had the consistency of butterscotch pudding. Open Mind had gone into Saturday's 109th Alabama with a nine-race winning streak dating to last November, but now, at 1-5 odds, she looked hopelessly beaten. Her critics were ready to add Open Mind's name to the list of fallen Saratoga favorites, which includes Man o' War, Gallant Fox and Secretariat. Before a crowd of 30309, Open Mind chose not to become a part of that gallery. "Of all the fillies I've ridden," Angel Cordero would say later, "I've never been on one who tries as hard as this filly. If she were a person, she'd want to work seven days a week." Cordero went to his whip 16 times--seven times from the right and nine from the left--and it took that 16th whack to get owner Gene Klein's filly to the wire, a neck before Dearly Loved. Open Mind might win 10 more races in a row, if she is allowed to stay on the track long enough, but no victory will come any harder than Saturday's. Jean Cruguet was aboard Dearly Loved ...

 

 



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