The Alabama Stakes is a Grade One, $600,000 dirt race for three year old fillies being run this Saturday, August 16 at Saratoga Race Track. These horses will be running 1 1/4 miles for the first time. Some of them will relish the added the distance while others won’t handle it well. By looking at their bloodlines I hope to find clues as to who will and who won’t. First I’ll go over their distaff line. I will look at their dam sires, in particular their 2nd and 3rd ones, which is the biggest indicator of distance. Then by looking at the mares in their family I will learn about their class and ability to run long also. Finally, I’ll visit their sire line to see what impact it will have on their performance. Connecting this jigsaw puzzle will tell me how far they want to run. Let’s look at the field.
Joint Return is trained by John C. Servis. This closer was last seen finishing second in the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks. Her dam sire, Brunswick, was a late bloomer. His biggest accomplishment on the track was winning The Whitney Handicap at 1 1/8 miles in 1993 at the age of 4. Her 2nd dam sire is Private Account. He won the G1 Widener Handicap at a 1 1/4 miles but was most famous off the track for producing the undefeated Hall of Fame filly Personal Ensign. Private Account’s female family is traced back to the great broodmare La Troienne. He was a great sire and broodmare sire who gave a good amount of stamina to his offspring. Private Account sired 61 stakes winners including 6 millionaire dollar earners. Joint Return’s third dam sire was the great Damascus. He was a Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner who also set a track record at Aqueduct for 10 furlongs. Damascus gave off a ton of distance to his offspring as well and was known to be especially successful with his daughters. When looking at the mares in her family, you have a winner in her dam Brunswick Star, who is a half-sister to dual Grade 3 victor American Halo. Her 3rd dam, Libras Shiningstar, produced German Champion Ghanayim. And in Joint Return’s 4th dam, Libra, is where you see great amounts of stamina because she gave off two Irish Derby winners (1 1/2 miles) Ribocco & Ribero. This female family also boasts dual French champion, English One Thousand Guineas heroine and Epsom Oaks queen Never Too Late. Joint Return’s sire is Include. He was the 2001 Maryland’s Champion Older Male & Horse Of The Year and earned over 1.5 million dollars. He won the Grade 1 Pimlico Special at 9.5 furlongs and earned 13 triple Beyer Speed Figures over his last 15 starts which showed his brilliance as a runner. He has sired six G1 winners so far and his best runners have been fillies. Her second sire was Broad Bush. He earned over 2.5 million dollars on the track and as a sire became a Chef-De-Race and gave off quite a bit of stamina to his offspring. He won at a mile and a quarter as well. Joint Return’s third sire was Ack Ack who was the U.S. Champion Horse and Sprinter in 1971. He too gave off brilliance on the track and also a bucket load of Stamina to his offspring. In Conclusion, you are looking at a filly in Joint Return that should have no problems getting this distance based on her bloodlines outlined here. She may actually thrive in it.
Size: Size is trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott. In her last outing Size showed her speed while winning the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks. Her dam sire is Pulpit. He won 4 of 6 starts including The Toyota Bluegrass (1 1/8 miles) and Fountain of Youth. As a successful sire his foals have earned over 60 million dollars. With 2014 runners he is the grand sire of Untappable, California Chrome and Tonalist. He also sired the great sire Tapit and Mr. Speaker (winner of Belmont Derby at a mile and a quarter). Her 2nd dam sire is Hall of Famer A,P. Indy. He won the Belmont Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic in 1992 and earned close to 3 million dollars. In the breeding shed he is a well established sire of sires. Notable conneections are Mineshaft, Bernardini, Rags to Riches, Malibu Moon, Sky Mesa, Congrats, Majestic Warrior, Flatter, Jump Start and the aforementioned Pulpit. He is known to pass along distance to his offspring. Size’s 3rd dam sire is The Triple Crown Winner Seattle Slew. He also passed along stamina to his progeny as well. Size’s females in her family are/were stocked with class and stamina. Her 3rd dam is a Reines De Course mare Bound who was Grade 1 placed and was also Blame’s granddam amongst other notable horses. Her 4th dam is the Reines De Course mare Special, the dam of great horses Nureyev (sire Theatrical/dam sire Big Brown) and Fairy Bridge (dam of Sadler’s Wells). Finally, her 5th dam is also a Reines De Corse mare Thong who was stakes placed and one of the greatest broodmares of her time. Looking at Size’s sire line she is by First Samurai. A racing career cut short by injury he won 5 times in 8 attempts including The Hopeful and Champagne at two. So far he has sired Last Gunfighter (winner 1 1/4 miles), Executiveprivilege, Lea and Justin Phillip. Her 2nd sire is Giants Causeway who was a multiple winner at a mile and a quarter and was North America’s top sire in 2009-2010 and 2012. Her 3rd sire is Storm Cat, one of the greatest sires of our time. In conclusion, by looking at her pedigree you can see that Size has the ability and may possibly perform better with the added distance of this race.
Miss Besilu This filly is the 2nd of 3 that Bill Mott has running in this race. She brought 2.6 million dollars as a yearling. She last finished third in The G1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga. Miss Besilu’s dam sire is Quiet American. He never won past 1 1/16 miles but his son Real Quiet won the Kentucky Derby. Her 2nd dam sire, Fappiano, won The Met Mile and Forego. He is more known for being a sire of sires. He was the grand sire of the Triple Crown in 1998 with Real Quiet and Victory Gallop. He also sired great horses such as Cryptoclearance (sired Victory Gallop and Volponi), Champion Sprinter Rubiano and Unbridled (Kentucky Derby Winner and Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner 1990). Her 3rd dam sire is the great Mr. Prospector who was North America’s leading broodmare sire an incredible 9 times. All 3 dam sires add a decent amount of stamina to their offspring. Miss Besilu’s mares on her distaff side include her dam Quiet Dance who won the Gala Lil Stakes, was second in the Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II), and earned $224,240. She produced Saint Liam (2005 Eclipse Champion Horse of the Year and Breeders’ Cup Classic Winner). Her 3rd dam Flight dancer was the dam of 3 important daughters. Miss Besilu’s 5th dam, Gallorette, is a Hall of Famer who raced an astounding 72 times and was named Champion Handicap Mare of 1946. She gave off stamina to burn. Miss Besilu has a great distaff family. Her sire line is strong as well. The great Medaglia D’Oro is her sire. He earned over 5.5 million dollars on the track including winning the Travers Stakes at a mile and a quarter at three. As a sire he has produced superstar filly Rachel Alexandra and Kentucky Oaks champ Plum Pretty, showing that he passes his brilliance on to his offspring along with a decent amount of distance. Her 2nd sire is El Prado. The leading North American sire of 2002, his progeny include Medaglia D’Oro, Artie Schiller, Borrego and Kitten’s Joy. Her 3rd sire is the influential Sadler’s Wells who was a 14 time leading sire in Great Brittan and Ireland. He is the only horse that has a plus 10 AWD number showing that his stamina influence on to his offspring is truly off the chart. Miss Besilu definitely shows me enough in her bloodlines for me to say that this distance should suit her fine.
America This filly is the 3rd Mott horse in this field of 9. Her latest effort was a distant 4th place finish in The Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga. Her dam sire is Fasliye who was the European Champion 2-year old Colt in 1999. He was a sprinter. As a sire his only Group One Winner was Carry On Katie and most notable offspring was the sprinter Chineur. America’s 2nd dam sire was the great Nureyev. In his brief racing career he never won at over a mile. His breeding career was stellar, siring 135 stakes winners and 20 champions, including U.S. Champion turf queens Theatrical and Miesque. He was also Big Brown’s dam sire. Nureyev put a great amount of stamina in his horses with an Average Winning Distance (AWD) as a broodmare sire of 8.57. Her 3rd dam sire is Northern Dancer. On the track he was a Kentucky Derby winner and off the track he is known as one of the most influential sires in thoroughbred history. America’s 3rd dam is a Reines De Course mare Blush With Pride. She was a Kentucky Oaks winner who won over $500,000 on the track. She was also the granddam of Jazil and Rags to Riches so you know she is full of distance. Her 4th dam, Best In Show, is a Reines De Course as well and was the Broodmare of the Year in 1982. America has a 4X5 cross with the great mare Special on her distaff side. Her sire is A.P. Indy who is one of the best sires around today and won over classic distances. Her second sire is Triple Crown Winner Seattle Slew. Both these 2 horses add brilliance to America’s pedigree. Finally her 3rd sire is Bold Reasoning who won 2 stakes sprints on the track. You can see after viewing America’s pedigree why Bobby Flay paid over $700,000 for her. She is another in this field who should have no problems navigating the distance.
Got Lucky She is one of the two fillies Todd Pletcher has running in the race. She is coming off an allowance win at Saratoga. Got Lucky’s dam sire is Deputy Minister. He was a U.S. and Canadian 2-year-old champion in 1981. He was also a leading North American Broodmare sire in 2007. As a broodmare sire he gave us long distance runners in Sarava, Jazil, Rags to Riches and Curlin. Her 2nd dam sire is Canadian Hall of Famer Vice Regent who sired over 60 stakes winners and was the dam sire of Victory Gallop. Her third dam sire is Northern Dancer who we spoke of before. Got Lucky’s granddam, Get Lucky, was a graded stakes winner. She foaled 3 graded stakes winners (Girolamo Daydreamening and Accelerator)-all by A.P. Indy (Got Lucky’s sire). She is also the granddam of Super Saver and Bluegrass Cat and is a full sister of Rhythm (Champion 2-year-old colt). Her 3rd dam is the Grade 1 winner Dance Number and her 4th dam is Numbered Account who was a 2-year-old champion filly in 1971 and the dam of Private Account (Sire Personal Ensign). Got Lucky is by A.P. Indy and you can read about this sire line in America. I see this pedigree another filly with class/stamina in their mares and strong sire lines but with their first dam sire not being a long distance runner. These dam sires though as a group give off large amounts of distance capabilities to their offspring. Thus Got Lucky has every right to get this distance.
Stopchargingmaria She is the other Pletcher horse and should be the favorite of the race. She comes into it off of consecutive graded wins in The Black-Eyed Susan and The Coaching Club American Oaks. Her dam sire is Montbrook who was a Grade 3 winning sprinter. His was a top sire in Florida who sired 47 stakes winners and whose best offspring was champion sprinter Big Drama. Montbrook is pretty weak when it comes to passing along distance to his offspring. Stopchargingmaria’s second dam sire is Buckaroo who never won past 1 1/8 miles. He was the Sire of the Year in 1985 and sired Horse of the Year Spend A Buck who won The Kentucky Derby in the fourth fastest time. Her 3rd dam sire, the Hall of Famer Buckpasser, was a champion 2 and 3 year old. He was also the Broodmare sire of the year 4 times and his sons did very well as broodmare sires also. Stopchargingmaria’s dam, Exotic Bloom, was a multiple stakes winner. Her 4th dam, Flag Waver, gave birth to 10 winners. And her 5th dam, the Reines De Course mare Beebopper, gave birth to 11 winners. Her female family includes female family includes Grade 1 winner Hatchet Man, Grade 2 winner Stop the Music and graded placed star Vision and Verse, all of whom were successful sires. Stopchargingmaria’s sire is Tale of the Cat. His biggest win on the track was the G2 King’s Bishop Stakes. He won from 7 furlongs to 8.5 furlongs. As a sire he’s given off 1 classic distance winner in Gio Ponti. Mostly though he has passed along sprinting prowess on to his offspring. Her second sire is the Storm Cat, a great sire who was also notable to passing speed on to his offspring and whose best progeny were not classic winner types. Her 3rd sire is Storm Bird who was a champion 2 year old sprinter. He sired Summer Squall, the Preakness Champion of 1990 who later sired Kentucky Derby Champ Charismatic. This is the first filly I have looked at that in my opinion may struggle at 1 1/4 miles. All of her dam sires never won at a classic distance, but Backaroo does pass a small amount of distance off to his offspring and Buckpasser definitely does. The mares in her family are classy enough but when looking at her sire line you see speed for the most part.
Unbridled Forever She is trained by Dallas Stewart and ran a distant second to Stopchargingmaria in her most recent start in The Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga. Her dam sire is the Belmont Stakes and Travers Stakes winner Lemon Drop Kid. He earned over 3 million dollars on the track and was the Eclipse Older Male Champion of 2000. As a sire he imparts a good amount of stamina on to his offspring. Her 2nd dam sire is Kingmambo. He was a great miler and as a sire was able to get classic winners. Besides Lemon Drop Kid his son Henrythenavigator was a star miler who finished second in The Breeders’ Cup Classic. Unbridled Forever’s third dam sire is Mr. Prospector who is connected with over a dozen winners in each of the triple crown races. Her dam is Lemons Forever, the upset winner of the 2006 Kentucky Oaks. She also placed third in this race in that same year. She was retired in 2007 and sold for over 2.5 million dollars at the Keenland sale. Unbridled Forever’s second dam is Critikola, a multiple Group 2 winner in Argentina who was later multiple Grade 1-placed in the U.S. This South American female family also boasts Group 1 winners Mr. Carrea and Frau Heidi as well as Chilean champion Staccato. Unbridled Forever’s sire is Unbridled’s Song, who won at a 1 1/8 miles and was a top 10 North American sire until his death last year. His best progeny was Will Take Charge who won the 2013 Travers Stakes. Her 2nd sire, Unbridled, won the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic in 1990 and is known to give off great amounts of stamina to his offspring. And her third sire Fappiano was a miler that gave off Cryptoclearance and Quiet American (sire of Real Quiet). Looking at Unbridled Forever’s bloodlines you can definitely see how she has the potential to run better with the added distance. Having Lemon Drop Kid as your dam sire is an added benefit for this race.
Catch My Drift She is trained by Chad Brown and is 2 for 2 but has never raced in stakes company, so this will be a major class hike for her. Catch My Drift’s dam sire is Yonaguska. He was a multiple Grade 1 winner at short distances and whose best offspring was Musket Man. He has a very low AWD number so his offspring are mostly sprinter types. Her 2nd dam sire Cherokee Run was the Eclipse Champion Sprinter of 1994. His most famous progeny was War Pass and is another horse who doesn’t give a lot on to his offspring in terms of distance. Runaway Groom is her 3rd dam sire and is a Canadian Half of Famer who won the Travers Stakes and in the process became the only horse in American Racing History to beat a Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont winner in the same race. He was a successful sire who gave off 27 graded stakes winners but was another who wasn’t strong in passing along stamina in Catch My Drift’s bloodlines. Catch My Drift’s 3rd and 4th dams were multiple stakes winners while her 5th dam was stakes placed. Her sire is Pioneer of the Nile. He was the winner of the Santa Anita Derby at 9F and ran 2nd in the Kentucky Derby. He is showing his brilliance as a sire so far with offspring Cairo Prince, Jojo Warrior and Social Inclusion. Catch My Drift’s 2nd and 3rd sire are Unbridled and Fappiano who we already spoke about. I would definitely not recommend this filly based on her pedigree. She looks to be more of a sprinter/miler type and this race is not suited for her in my opinion.
Fortune Pearl Trained by Graham Motion she won the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks in closing fashion. Her dam sire is Chelsey Cat who was unraced and is the leading sire in North Carolina over the past five years. Her 2nd and 3rd dam sires are Storm Cat and Storm Bird who we have gone over in other profiles. Fortune Pearl’s dam, Chelsea’s Pearl, was stakes place and has produced 4 winners from 4 foals. Her 3rd dam was stakes placed while her 5th dam was a multiple stakes winner. Her sire was A.P. Indy whose sire line is strong and gives off a lot of stamina. I also have talked about these horses in past profiles. Fortune Pearl is another filly I just don’t see being able to cover this distance due to a lack of stamina and class on her distaff line.
Out of the 9 entrants in this weekend’s Alabama Stakes I only see 3 fillies who have distance questions. The other 6 fillies are pretty regally bred and I see why their connections are pointing them towards this race. Since I see the probable favorite Stopchargingmaria backing up at the end of this race it makes for a good betting race. I can see a lot of these horses having a chance to win based on their bloodlines and racing performance. Unlike this year’s Kentucky Derby where many of the horses had questions as to who would get the classic distance, most of these horses seem to be bred for it. It should be a good race and good luck playing it.
Image: Max Wolfe, “Alabama Theater Marquee, Birmingham.” Copyright 2007.