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With a win in the Alabama Stakes, Princess of Sylmar will almost certainly clinch division honors (Photos courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire).

With back-to-back Grade 1 wins on her résumé, Princess of Sylmar has a chance to put a stranglehold on the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old filly on Saturday when she faces five opponents in the $600,000 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.

The Majestic Warrior filly has four wins and one second in five races this season. She sandwiched a runner-up finish in the Gazelle Stakes in April between a pair of stakes wins this winter at Aqueduct and Grade 1 wins in May in the Kentucky Oaks and July in the Coaching Club American Oaks.

If Princess of Sylmar were to win the Alabama – she was tabbed the overwhelming 3-5 morning-line favorite – if would be difficult to envision a scenario in which she would not win the Eclipse Award as the top 3-year-old filly.

The one unknown component for Princess of Sylmar is the 1 ¼-mile distance of the Alabama. She has never competed in a race longer than 1 1/8 miles, but trainer Todd Pletcher believes Princess of Sylmar is up to the challenge.

“She should excel with the added distance,” Pletcher said. “She finished both the Kentucky Oaks and the Coaching Club very well, indicating to me she wants more distance. She's easy to turn off in the early part of the race and relaxes nicely, so that should also help.”

Bred in Pennsylvania by owner Ed Stanco’s King of Prussia Stable, Princess of Sylmar has won six of seven races since starting her career with an unplaced finish and five of the wins coming by 5 ¼ lengths or more. Simply put, when Princess of Sylmar is one her game she is a dominant force, and her six-length romp in the Coaching Club American Oaks is a fine example.

FIFTYSHADESOFHAY IS THE MAIN THREAT TO PRINCESS OF SYLMAR IN THE ALABAMA

Fiftyshadesofhayyyyyyyy

The top candidate to post an Alabama upset is Fiftyshadesofhay, a three-time graded stakes winner. A bay filly by Pulpit, Fiftyshadesofhay comes into the Alabama off of a 3 ½-length win in the Iowa Oaks on June 29. The Iowa Oaks victory followed a neck win in the Grade Black-Eyed Susan Stakes on May 17, so Fiftyshadesofhay also appears to be in ideal form for the Alabama.

The Alabama also drew stakes winners Tell a Great Story and Montana Native as well as Galloping Giraffe and Carnival Court.

$600,000 Alabama Stakes

Saturday, Saratoga Race Course, Race 10, 5:45 p.m. EDT

3-year-old fillies, 1 1/4 miles on dirt

PP

Horse

Jockey

Trainer

Odds

1

Tell a Great Story (MD)

J. Lezcano

I Correas

12-1

2

Montana Native (KY)

J. Alvarado

K McPeek

10-1

3

Galloping Giraffe (KY)

R. Maragh

T A Pletcher

20-1

4

Princess of Sylmar (PA)

J.J. Castellano

T A Pletcher

3-5

5

Carnival Court (KY)

I Ortiz Jr.

K McLaughlin

15-1

6

Fiftyshadesofhay (KY)

J.R. Velazquez

B Baffert

2-1

 

Image Description

Mike Curry

A native of Philadelphia who grew up in nearby Wilmington, Del., Curry was editor of Thoroughbred Times TODAY before joining the America's Best Racing team in May 2012. He credits his grandfather for the inspiration to repeatedly sneak off to Delaware Park as a 16-year-old and the 1989 rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer for his passion for horse racing. Curry graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a concentration in Journalism. He worked for the Wilmington News Journal and was Sports Editor of the Cecil Whig before moving to Lexington in 2005.

Image Description

Mike Curry

A native of Philadelphia who grew up in nearby Wilmington, Del., Curry was editor of Thoroughbred Times TODAY before joining the America's Best Racing team in May 2012. He credits his grandfather for the inspiration to repeatedly sneak off to Delaware Park as a 16-year-old and the 1989 rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer for his passion for horse racing. Curry graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a concentration in Journalism. He worked for the Wilmington News Journal and was Sports Editor of the Cecil Whig before moving to Lexington in 2005.

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