The $500,000 Alabama S. (G1) will be run Saturday as race 9 at Saratoga for the 140th time.  The 1 1/4-mile dirt race is for 3-year-old fillies and is part of the 2020 Road to the Kentucky Oaks series with 100-40-20-10 points going to the top four finishers. But, wait, there’s more! The Alabama is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” challenge race with the winner getting an automatic spot in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) on November 6 at Keeneland.

Top Picks for the Alabama

  • #1 Envoutante
  • #5 Swiss Skydiver
  • #3 Crystal Ball
  • #2 Spice is Nice

Betting the Alabama

  • $30 win: 1
  • $10 exacta: 3,5 with 1

Alabama Contenders

#1 Envoutante romped by over six lengths in her two-turn debut at Gulfstream Park while earning a strong speed rating. For some reason, she was brought back on the turf and she faded in the lane. Next out, she was a strong allowance winner at Churchill Downs going two turns then was an even third in the Ashland (G1) at Keeneland in a race where the speed held up. The daughter of Uncle Mo should have no trouble getting the 10 furlongs and she has trained well up here. Jose Ortiz, who has won the last three renewals of this race, rides back from post 1. 

#2 Spice is Nice romped by 12 lengths in her career debut going a one-turn mile at Gulfstream Park then was a good second in the Davona Dale (G2) there as the odds-on favorite. She fell too far behind next out in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) going two turns so Todd Pletcher re-grouped and brought her back in a first-level allowance race at Belmont Park which she won easily in fast time. Daughter of Curlin is out of a dam by Bernardini so 10 furlongs on the dirt should be right up her alley.

#3 Crystal Ball was an even third in her career debut going two turns on the dirt at Santa Anita but came right back there to break her maiden next out. Bob Baffert shipped her here and she almost stole the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) going nine furlongs. She would have to still improve since I don’t think the field for the CCOA Oaks was that strong.

#4 Bonny South broke her maiden third time out when blinkers were added then she came back and won the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2). She raced evenly in the Ashland where the speed never came back and now will try to stretch out in distance. By speed sire Munnings, at least she is out of a dam by Tapit.

#5 Swiss Skydiver looks ripe for an upset for a number of reasons. She is being asked to run a fifth straight big race after shipping all over the country and will not have the early speed all to herself or at least will have to work hard for it. Ken McPeek has won this race before, but the 10 furlongs will hit her around the eighth pole. At a short price, the daughter of Daredevil looks vulnerable.

#6 Harvey’s Lil Goil has three wins and her two atrocious losses. She was way up the track in the Fantasy (G3) two starts back at Oaklawn Park but came back and won the Regret (G3) on the turf at Churchill Downs. Bill Mott has won this race three times before, but she will have to improve a lot to figure against these.

#7 Fire Coral began the career with a maiden and allowance win on the dirt at Oaklawn Park. Since then she has shipped all over the country looking for blacktype, but I can’t see her getting it here.