Saratoga: Recent trends in Week 6 Saturday stakes

August 14th, 2023

Three-year-old fillies will be in the spotlight for the sixth Saturday of the Saratoga meet on Aug. 19. The time-honored $600,000 Alabama (G1) over 1 1/4 miles on the main track is the feature and is supported by the $200,000 Lake Placid (G2) over 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Here is a look at some notable trends in both races over the last 10 years.

Alabama (G1)

With division-leading Pretty Mischievous not in the picture for the Alabama, this renewal will have a slightly different feel than other recent editions. 

For starters, the pro tem leader of the division raced in and won the last three editions of the Alabama; Swiss Skydiver, Malathaat, and Nest all wound up winning the Eclipse Award, too.

Songbird (2016) is the only other division champion to win the Alabama in the last decade, though there was another three-race stretch of champion winners as recently as 2010-12 (Blind Luck, Royal Delta, Questing).

The Alabama has been very chalky, with seven post-time favorites winning in the past 10 years. The only ones to defy expectations were Embellish the Lace (2015, $14), Elate (2017, $10.60), and Eskimo Kisses (2018, $20).

Unsurprisingly, seven of the last 10 winners last competed in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) at Saratoga. That includes all four of the Alabama winners trained by Todd Pletcher.

Lake Placid (G2)

With two other races in the division having been held earlier in the meet (Lake George [G3], Saratoga Oaks [G3]), the Lake Placid has suffered from short fields in the last decade. The average field size since 2013 has been six.

The number of winning favorites hasn't been quite as high as that of the Alabama, but it's close. Five public choices have won in the last 10 years, including Varenka (2019), who finished in a dead heat for the win.

Unsurprisingly, runners from the Chad Brown stable have made a significant impact on the Lake Placid. The trainer has won the race four times, including with future champions Rushing Fall and Regal Glory, the latter having dead-heated with the aforementioned Varenka.

Brown has also won the last renewals with Technical Analysis and Haughty, though it must be noted Haughty ($13.40) produced a mild upset as the fourth choice in a field of six (she was third choice of the four Brown-trained entrants).

Because of the generally short fields, longer-priced winners in the Lake Placid have been hard to come by. Also, the race has been dominated by a quartet of jockeys. Since 2013, Javier Castellano has won the Lake Placid three times, while John Velazquez, Joel Rosario, and Jose Ortiz have each won twice.