Believe You Can Out, Grace Hall Favorite for Saratoga’s Alabama
Fans are no doubt disappointed by the news that Believe You Can will not be running Saturday’s Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga Race Course. Trainer Larry Jones noted that nothing major was wrong with the Fair Grounds Oaks and Kentucky Oaks winner, but she appeared tired…
so the decision was made to let her skip the race. Believe You Can's win at Churchill Downs will also go down in history as the first Kentucky Oaks to be won by a female jockey – Rose Napravnik. Believe You Can finished third in the Grade 1 Mother Goose at Belmont Park on June 23 and had not bounced back as expected. Word has it that she could return for the November 24 Grade I Gazelle at Aqueduct.
As one of the premier annual events on Saratoga's calendar, the $600,000 Grade 1 Alabama for 3-year-old fillies, will have a field of seven competitors, with Delaware Oaks winner Grace Hall as the current favorite. The filly drew post number 3 for the 132nd running of the Alabama and will go off as the 7-5 favorite with Javier Castellano aboard. In a published interview, trainer Tony Dutrow noted that the Alabama is a 'wide open door right now'. Echoing the general sentiment Dutrow said that with the field running the Alabama, 'the winner will have a bold statement toward the 3-year-old filly championship.' The American Three-Year-Old Filly is an honor awarded on an annual basis to a filly in Thoroughbred flat racing and is part of the Eclipse Awards program.
Grace Hall was foaled on February 9, 2009, in Kentucky. Of her 8 career starts, the filly has claimed 5 firsts, 2 seconds and a third, with total earnings of $1,140,000. She opened her three-year-old season by claiming a second in Gulfstream Park's Grade II Davona Dale, following with a win in the Grade II Gulfstream Park Oaks in March. After taking third place in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs in May, Grace Hall took a first in the Grade II Delaware Oaks on July 14.
The field for Saturday's Grade I Alabama, in order of post position:
1.Sea Island – Jockey: J Rosario
2.Zo Impressive – Jockey: R Marach
3.Grace Hall – Jockey: J Castellano
4.Uptown Bertie – Jockey: C J Lanerie
5.Via Villaggio – Jockey: C S Nakatani
6.Questing – Jockey: I Ortiz, Jr.
7.In Lingerie – Jockey: J R Velazquez