Proud Spell reasserted her position as the best 3-year-old filly in the land when she bettered Music Note in a stirring stretch drive to win the $600,000 Alabama Stakes (gr. I) by a head at Saratoga Aug. 16.
After getting the lead from Little Belle on the far turn, Proud Spell (center), ridden by Gabriel Saez, was tackled in the lane by Music Note on the outside. Music Note, with Javier Castellano aboard, appeared to have the momentum leaving the eighth pole, but Proud Spell fought back tenaciously, getting the edge in the final couple of strides in a gutty effort by both fillies.
Sent off as the second choice, Proud Spell paid $5.90 and $2.60. Music Note, who was originally being considered for the Travers (gr. I), finished second and returned $2.10. The $2 exacta paid $7.90. Little Belle finished third, 4 1/2 lengths behind, with Mushka and Sweet Vendetta far back in the small field.
Marc Keller's Grand Couturier had to check under Alan Garcia at the top of the lane, but re-rallied, split horses in mid-stretch, and drew clear to win the $500,000 Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT) (VIDEO) for the second consecutive year Aug. 16 at Saratoga.
Backseat Rhythm showed an appreciation for Saratoga's yielding inner turf course Aug. 15 when she powered home from the back of the pack to dominate the $150,000 Lake Placid Stakes (gr. IIT) for her first stakes victory.
Run Away and Hide stayed unbeaten in three starts and earned the second graded stakes victory of his young career, edging clear of Break Water Edison in mid-stretch to win the $150,000 Saratoga Special (gr. II) by 1 1/4 lengths Aug. 14.
Tamayuz continued trainer Freddie Head’s golden run when rolling to a comfortable 2 1/2-length victory over Natagora in the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques le Marois (Fr-I) at Deauville Aug. 17.