By Gene Kershner
SARATOGA SPRINGS -- There is no question who the best 3-year-old filly in the land is after this afternoon's Grade 1 $600,000 Alabama Stakes as Princess of Sylmar rolled to an open lenghts victory over Southern Cal shipper Fiftyshadesofhay at Saratoga Race Course.
The daughter of Majestic Warrior took command at the quarter pole and cruised home under a handride by jockey Javier Castellano to complete her third straight Grade 1 victory. The Kentucky Oaks champion became the second horse in two years to complete the CCAO-Alabama double at the old Spa. Last year, Questing swept both races for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin who trained third place finisher Carnival Court.
Princess of Sylmar paid $3 to win, $2.10 to place and $2.10 to show, completing the mile and a quarter in 2:03.21. Fiftyshadesofhay, trained by Bob Baffet who did not make the trip on Saturday, paid $2.50 to place and $2.60 to show. Carnival Court returned $3.50 for the third place finish.
The win by trainer Todd Pletcher was his first in 10 Alabamas with 13 starters, who extended his lead for the Spa trainer title with the victory.
Big Blue Kitten ($7.90) won the Grade 1 $600,000 Sword Dancer on the undercard charging past Twilight Eclipse in the final furlong for leading owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey for trainer Chad Brown and jockey Jersey Joe Bravo.