The nine-horse field of 3-year-old fillies running in the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama Stakes will showcase a rematch between Point of Honor and Ulele. The race is presented by NYRA Bets and will take place on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.
The two horses met back in May when Point of Honor beat Ulele in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico.
The Alabama Stakes, in its 139th running, will be run at 1 1/4 miles. It is the main race of the 11-race card, which also has the $100,000 Smart N Fancy and the G2 $200,000 Lake Placid.
Point of Honor
Point of Honor, coming out of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Stetson Racing, has been at Saratoga since June. She ran in the 1 1/8-mile G1 Coaching Club American Oaks on July 21. In that race, she finished second by a length behind undefeated Guarana.
At the G1 Coaching Club American Oaks, Point of Honor was given a career-high 91 Beyer Speed Figure. Before that, she had earned a 90 after beating Ulele by a half-length at 1 1/8 miles in the Black-Eyed Susan.
In her first five starts, the George Weaver-trained horse has three wins. One of those starts was a win in the Suncoast on Feb. 9 at Tampa Bay Downs. The only one in which she finished outside of the top three was when she crossed the line fourth in the G2 Gulfstream Park Oaks on March 30.
Trainer George Weaver spoke about her last couple of weeks.
“She’s had a good four weeks, and she’s been training good. We’re happy with her,” he said. “She’s not difficult to keep. She’s remained happy all year. She likes it here, but she liked it in Florida and liked it in Kentucky.”
Ulele, from Cheyenne Stables, has placed second in her last two runs. After the Black-Eyed Susan, she finished second by a half-length in the G3 Iowa Oaks at Prairie Meadows on July 5.
The Brad Cox-trained filly ran in the Iowa Oaks with a field of six horses. She was the pacesetter for the first half-mile, and she pushed forward in the stretch before being beaten by Lady Apple.
The Alabama will be Ulele’s first start at Saratoga. She will be breaking from post 6 with jockey Joel Rosario.
She broke her maiden at Oaklawn on Jan. 27, and her stakes debut was in the Black-Eyed Susan, where she beat Cookie Dough by 2 1/4 lengths to take second. It was the longest race she ran in all of her seven career starts.
The Rest of the Field
The rest of the field includes impressive horses as well. Peter Brant’s Dunbar Road will also be challenging for a win. She has won three of her first four starts, and it will be her first running since winning the G2 Mother Goose on June 29 at Belmont.
Lady Apple will be looking to take the Alabama as well. Her first start was in the Kentucky Oaks, where she finished third among Grade 1 Company. Lady Apple is trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, and she will be breaking from post 2 under jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr.
Off Topic is coming into the race after achieving a career-high 88 Beyer Speed FIgure. That came from her third-place finish in the Coaching Club American Oaks. She also finished third in the G2 Gazelle on April 6 at Aqueduct and has started in multiple high-level stakes at 1 1/8 miles.
The rest of the field running in the Alabama includes Champagne Anyone, Street Band, and Kelsey’s Cross. The Alabama is Race 10 with a post time of 5:59 pm ET.