New York Watch: Alpha
When Kiaran McLaughlin entered Alpha in Saturday's seventh race, the trainer thought he had picked a difficult spot for the colt to make his debut. Not only was the race seven furlongs, it also featured well-regarded horses who had the benefit of a previous start. "[Alpha] drew down toward the inside, the 3 hole he had, and I was afraid of two who had already started [Invocation and Africanist] because seven-eighths is a hard distance first-time out," said McLaughlin. Alpha made those concerns moot by securing the fourth position up the backstretch, advancing into second on the far turn, reeling in the free-running pacesetter with three-sixteenths left, and needing only intermittent urging from jockey Alan Garcia to win by six lengths. The final time for seven furlongs was 1:23.97. "It was a 'wow' performance," said McLaughlin. "He ran huge. Everything went right for him and he won easily. We don't win that often first-time out, so that was nice." Alpha, a Darley Stable homebred, is by 2006 Champion Three-Year-Old Male Bernardini and out of the Nijinski III mare Munnaya, who won an English listed stakes. Munnaya has produced four horses with black type, including Mystic Melody, who in France captured a listed stakes and placed in two Group 3 events.
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