Fillies Take Center Stage At Alabama
FILLES TAKE CENTER STAGE AT ALABAMA
When it comes to picking between 7-5 Devil May Care and 8-5 Blind Luck in today's 130th running of the Grade 1, $500,000 Alabama Stakes, it's six of one, half-dozen of the other.
In a field of six carrying level weight of 121 pounds going a mile-and-a-quarter, one of the two likely will emerge with bragging rights as the top 3-year-old filly in the land.
Devil May Care rebounded from her 10th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby to win the Mother Goose and Coaching Club American Oaks, establishing herself as the top filly in the East. But before Devil May Care won the CCA Oaks by four lengths on the first Saturday of the Saratoga meet, California-based Blind Luck was the top filly in America, boasting victories in the Las Virgenes at Santa Anita, the Fantasy at Oaklawn Park, the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs and the Delaware Oaks at Delaware Park.
Logic gives the nod to Devil May Care. For one, she cost $110,000 as a yearling; take away a zero, and that's what they paid for Blind Luck. Devil May Care has gone the distance, she's bred for it, she is 2-for-2 over this track and runs for the leading trainer, Todd Pletcher, and leading rider, John Velazquez, at this meet.
Blind Luck is making her first start in New York, and she's three noses away from being 1-for-6 this year instead of 4-for-6.
Devil May Care also has tactical speed, while Blind Luck, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer and ridden by Joel Rosario, comes from the clouds. Velazquez learned a lesson when Blame nailed his ride Quality Road late in the Whitney, and he'll be on alert not to let that happen again.
Blind Luck, however, has a relentless will to win -- and just might be the better of the two.
by Ed Fountaine
Travers hopefuls get in final works
The Robert LaPenta-owned pair of MINER'S RESERVE (Mineshaft) and ICE BOX (Pulpit) put in workouts Friday morning at Saratoga, with both colts from the barn of Nick Zito possible for the $1 million Travers S. (G1) on August 28.
With Calvin Borel aboard, Miner's Reserve breezed four furlongs in company with stablemate Gallant Fields (Smarty Jones), with the duo covering the distance in :48 1/5, ranked second among 31 workouts at the distance over the fast Oklahoma training track dirt.
The Hall of Fame trainer has yet to commit Miner's Reserve, who ran second in the Jim Dandy S. (G2) last time, to the Travers, wishing to assess the prospective field before making a final decision.
There are no question marks regarding the status of Florida Derby (G1) winner and Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up Ice Box, who took to the main track with Julien Leparoux in the irons. In company with Grade 2 veteran Cool Coal Man (Mineshaft), Ice Box breezed five furlongs over Saratoga's fast main track in 1:00, the second fastest of 26 moves.
"It looks like he has a little more strength would be my guess," said Zito of Ice Box's condition following his sixth-place finish in the Haskell Invitational (G1). "It takes them a while to recover from (the Triple Crown) races. Hopefully he comes with a great run next weekend. If he runs to the Derby race he'll be right there."
Dwyer S. (G1) winner and Belmont S. (G1) runner-up FLY DOWN (Mineshaft), trained by Zito for Richard C. Pell, is scheduled to have his final pre-Travers workout Saturday morning, either on the main track or the Oklahoma training track. Fly Down ran fifth in the Jim Dandy.
Training up to next Saturday's Travers, ADMIRAL ALEX (Afleet Alex) came onto the main track at 5:50 a.m. (EDT) Friday morning for a six-furlong workout.
With jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard, Admiral Alex started the first quarter in :24 2/5, passed three furlongs in :35 4/5, went five furlongs in 1:01 2/5, breezed six furlongs in 1:14.02, and then galloped out seven furlongs in 1:26 3/5.
"It was a beautiful work. He didn't break a hair," owner and trainer Leon Blusiewicz said. "He finished really well. He finished stronger than he started. That's what I wanted. Now, he'll just gallop into the race."
Admiral Alex will come into the Travers with just one start -- a one-length maiden win at Saratoga over 1 1/8 miles on July 31.
In addition to Zito's horses and Admiral Alex, the Travers is expected to attract Kentucky Derby winner SUPER SAVER (Maria's Mon), Jim Dandy winner A LITTLE WARM (Stormin Fever), Withers S. (G3) winner AFLEET AGAIN (Afleet Alex), Pegasus S. (G3) winner AFLEET EXPRESS (Afleet Alex), four-time Grade 1-placed FIRST DUDE (Stephen Got Even), New York-bred stakes winner FRIEND OR FOE (Friends Lake), Irish stakes winner STEINBECK (Ire) (Footstepsinthesand [GB]), Barbaro S. winner TRICKMEISTER (Proud Citizen), and possibly Haskell runner-up TRAPPE SHOT (Tapit), who is also under consideration for the seven-furlong King's Bishop S. (G1) on the Travers undercard.
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