Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Secret Status and Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) winner Jostle will renew their rivalry in the $750,000 Alabama Stakes (gr. I) Saturday at Saratoga. Jostle won the 1 1/2-mile CCA Oaks by setting a soft pace alone on the front end. However, Secret Status has a new stablemate -- Valleydar -- to aid her late kick in the 1 1/4-mile Alabama.
Valleydar, a confirmed frontrunner who won the $75,000 Susan's Girl Stakes at Delaware Park in June before finishing third in the Delaware Oaks Stakes (gr. III), will break from post position five under Aaron Gryder. Secret Status' owner William S. Farish recently purchased Valleydar from Guylas Stable, and the daughter of Valley Crossing will race in Farish's colors for the first time on Saturday.
"She's a nice horse in her own right," said Valleydar's trainer Neil Howard, who also conditions Secret Status. "And it happens that she has a different running style than Secret Status. But don't misunderstand. Just because there are horses to go with Jostle doesn't mean she'll automatically chuck it at the eighth-pole. She's a very nice filly."
Nine 3-year-old fillies are entered and each will carry 121 pounds. The Alabama field, with jockeys, will consist of:
1--Resort, Edgar Prado
2--Sincerely, Michael McCarthy
3--North Lake Jane, Mike Luzzi
4--(e)Secret Status, Pat Day
5--(e)Valleydar, Aaron Gryder
6--Classy Cara, Ignacio Puglisi
7--Spain, Jorge Chavez
8--Critical Eye, Heberto Castillo Jr.
9--Jostle, Mike Smith