Aussie Star Alinghi Highlights Ballston Spa

(from Saratoga report)
Australian sensation Alinghi makes her first North American start against a tough field of 11 other horses in the $200,000-added Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

Named after the Swiss-based sailing syndicate that won the 2003 America's Cup, Alinghi has earned $2.6 million racing in Australia and will be making her first start since March.

Alinghi has raced four times in 2005, all group I races. She won the Robert Sangster Stakes and the Newmarket Handicap both at six furlongs and against males. She also took second by a neck in the Lightning Stakes at five furlongs, and was fourth, beaten only a half length, in the T.J. Smith Stakes at six furlongs in her most recent start. Prior to this year, Alinghi won the One Thousand Guineas Stakes at a mile, the Ascot Value Stakes (Aus-II) at six furlongs, and the Edward Manifold Stakes (Aus-II) at one mile.

"I just knew she was a real good filly," said trainer Bobby Frankel, who took over her conditioning in this country. "Then, they sent the tapes on her, and it was very impressive. I know she has accomplished a lot."

John Messara, head of Arrowfield Stud in Australia, owns Alinghi. Messara, along with partners, purchased Alinghi for an undisclosed amount – rumored to be $3 million – earlier this year. He then transferred the filly by Encosta de Lago to Frankel in hopes of eventually winning a grade I race in America before she starts her career as a broodmare in Australia.

Alinghi, who will carry the highweight of 119 pounds and break from the 10 post on Monday with jockey Edgar Prado aboard, is the most accomplished horse in the field. She has never run a mile and a sixteenth, however.

She has three starts at a mile with two victories and a second by a nose in the Nestle Peters Classic (Aus-I) in 2004. Most of her success, however, has come sprinting.

"I think the reason they were sprinting her was because they have no medication (Lasix) in Australia," Frankel said. "I think she bled a little, and they were scared of running her too far."

Alinghi will run with the anti-bleeding medication Lasix for the first time Monday.

Frankel, who excels with horses coming off a layoff, has had this filly for about five months and is not worried about her running off a five-month layoff.

"She's doing great," Frankel said. "Hopefully, she performs the way I think she will. She's ready, no doubt about it."

Alinghi has 10 wins from 16 starts and has been in the money in all but one of her starts. That came in her most recent start, the T.J. Smith Stakes.

"I would think she is the horse to beat," Frankel said. "One negative part is that this course has been playing towards a lot of speed, and she likes to come from behind."

Que Puntual, an Argentine-bred mare by Contested Bid, is a leading challenger in the field of 12 entered for the turf race. Trained by Angel Penna Jr., Que Puntual took second, 2 1/2 lengths behind winner Sand Springs, in her last start, the Diana Handicap (gr. IT) on July 30.

Prior to the Diana, this mare won the Nassau Stakes (Can-II) at Woodbine at Monday's distance.

Que Puntual, who will carry 118 pounds, will break from the 12 post with Cornelio Velasquez aboard.

Adding intrigue to the race will be 6-year-old Riskaverse, owned by Timber Bay Farm and trained by Patrick Kelly. Riskaverse has failed to place in the top three in her two starts this year, but in her last start, the New York Handicap (gr. IIT), she took fourth, beaten only two lengths by the likes of eventual winner Wend, Wonder Again, and Film Maker.

Riskaverse came out of the 10-furlong New York Handicap with a minor ankle injury. Kelly lost some time training, but believes he is getting his mare back on track.

$200,000-added Ballston Spa Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT), fillies & mares 3 & up, 1 1/6 miles (turf)
1. La Reina, Claude McGaughey, John Velazquez, 114
2. Path of Thunder, Todd Pletcher, Richard Migliore, 114
3. Spring Season, Jonathan Sheppard, Ramon Dominguez, 115
4. Finery, William Turner Jr., Javier Castellano, 116
5. Lentil, Roy Lerman, Jorge Chavez, 115
6. Stupendous Miss, Wallace Dollase, Gary Stevens, 115
7. Delta Princess, William Mott, Robby Albarado, 118
8. Cloak of Vagueness, Philip Hauswald, Eibar Coa, 115
9. Riskaverse, Patrick Kelly, Jose Santos, 118
10. Alinghi, Robert Frankel, Edgar Prado, 119
11. Snowdrops, Christophe Clement, Jerry Bailey, 116
12. Que Puntual, Angel Penna Jr., Cornelio Velasquez, 118
Main Track Only
13. Capeside Lady, Todd Pletcher, 125
14. Ender's Sister, George Arnold, 123
15. Provincial, Claude McGaughey, 121
16. Aesculus, Christophe Clemente, 119