Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Alabama could have been "The Cottrell"

The Alabama Stakes for three year old fillies, is a true Grade 1 going the classic distance of a mile and a quarter on Saratoga's main track. The feature on Saturday in the 131st renewal. If you want to remember some of the best fillies on the east coast for the last 100+ years, just read the list of winners of the Alabama.

Prior to the late sixties,  some of the top class fillies that have won this race include Beldame, Miss Woodford, Maskette,Top Flight, Vagrancy, Busanda, Primonetta, Tempted, What A Treat, Miss Cavendish and Gamely. Many of these became blue hens, or dams of multiple graded stakes winners.

And the list goes on. Other, more recent winners are Shuvee, Fanfreluche, Optimistic Gal, Our Mims, Life's Magic, Mom's Command, Maplejinsky, Open Mind, Go For Wand, Versailles Treaty, Sky Beauty, Heavenly Prize, Banshee Breeze, Silverbulletday, Jostle, Flute, Pine Island, Proud Spell and Blind Luck.

Just a partial list, but impressive just the same.

I am always curious on how certain Stakes races are named. Most often they are named after famous horses, owners, jockeys, or trainers that have had success at a certain track.  According to the very limited information I could find on the naming of the Alabama, it seems it was named in honor of William Cottrell, who was from Mobile, Alabama. Because he was "too modest to have a race named after him personally, it was named after the state he lived in."

Who was this man? Hard to say, but maybe he had the right idea We could have been calling this race "the Cottrell". The Alabama is as prestigious a race as you can get in this country, and just the name is synonymous with class.  Whoever joins the list this year will be in the company of some of the greatest fillies American Racing has ever seen.

The field for the Grade 1 Alabama:

1) Royal Delta / J.Lezcano
2) Pinch Pie / J. Velazquez
3) Plum Pudding / M. Garcia
4) It's Tricky / E. Castro
5) St.John's River / R. Alberado
6) Inglorious / L. Contreras

Who will win the Alabama this year?

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