Sweet Symphony scores Alabama win.

Sweet Symphony scores Alabama win.

NYRA/Adam Coglianese

Brassy Sweet Symphony Captures Alabama

Trainer Bill Mott says his undefeated 3-year-old filly Sweet Symphony always leaves him with the feeling that she's capable of doing more. After she trashed the field by 6 1/4 lengths in Saturday's $750,000 Alabama (gr. I) at muddy Saratoga Race Course, one wonders how much better she can get.

"I like this filly a lot," Mott said. "She's done everything we've asked and done everything right. She always has more for you.

"I think this puts her on the top of the heap, as far as the three-year-old filly division is concerned. The way she won today, I think we would consider the Breeders' Cup (Distaff) for her. I would like to get a race between now and then for her at Belmont."

Two of the leaders of the 3-year-old filly division, Summerly and Smuggler, were unable to compete in the race. Summerly, winner of the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) and two other graded stakes this year, sustained a leg injury in training. Smuggler, who won the Mother Goose and Coaching Club American Oaks (both gr. I) at Belmont
Park this summer, missed training time because of a brief illness and was not entered by trainer Shug McGaughey.

Ridden by Jerry Bailey in her stakes debut for George Steinbrenner's Kinsman Stable, Sweet Symphony surged past the favored Spun Sugar at the three-sixteenth pole and was fully in command as she drove for home under steady pressure. The time for the 1 1/4-mile test for 3-year-old fillies was 2:04 2/5 on a course listed as good.

"The question was whether my horse would have enough going long," Bailey said of his first stakes winner of the meet. "She's answered every question climbing up the ladder. Obviously, this was a much bigger test. I really didn't have to get to the bottom of her. She took me to the horses and got by them without giving it her all. It was pretty impressive. I guess the sky is the limit for her."

"It has been a great meet, even though we were second in six stakes," Mott said. "I think we picked the right ones to win (including the grade I Diana with Sand Springs). I talked to Mr. Steinbrenner after the race, and he's delighted. He's glad to have a good one."

The homebred daughter of A.P. Indy-Brandy Rose (Distinctive Pro) posted her fourth consecutive win since debuting in May at Belmont Park. She was coming off a 2 1/2-length allowance win at Saratoga July 28 and has yet to receive a serious challenge. Sweet Symphony raced on Lasix for the first time Saturday.

Sis City set the pace as expected, taking them along through fractions of :24 1/5, :48 4/5 and 1:13 2/5 with Spun Sugar on the outside and R Lady Joy at the rail doing the tracking. On the far turn, John Velazquez asked the 8-5 choice Spun Sugar for her run, and she swept up on the outside to take the lead as R Lady Joy and Jose Lezcano closed in along the inside. Meanwhile, Bailey was putting Sweet Symphony, who was never far back along the inside, to the drive. Sweet Symphony challenged while four wide coming off the turn and soon hooked up with Spun Sugar.

By the eighth pole, Bailey had Sweet Symphony in complete control while keeping her from angling in through the lane.

"They went slower than I expected them to go, and it looked like there was some crowding going into the first turn," said Mott. "Because of that, I think Jerry (Bailey) was farther back. But he let her cruise up there. When she left the three-eighths pole, it looked like Jerry had enough horse, if she was good enough."

Spun Sugar, who broke inward from her outside post position and bumped For All We Know and Dance Away Capote after the start, held second by a length over R Lady Joy.

"She ran well," said trainer Todd Pletcher of the runner-up. "We were the ones that put a little pressure on Sis City so she wouldn't get away. We did the dirty work for someone else. She was second-best."

Sis City turned in her third consecutive fourth-place finish since her 10 1/2-length win in the Ashland (gr. I) at Keeneland in April.

Sweet Symphony earned $450,000 for the victory. The second choice in the field of seven, she paid $9.60, $4.00, and $3.10. Spun Sugar, who was coming off a third-place finish behind Smuggler in the Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) at Belmont July 23, returned $3.00 and $2.40. R Lady Joy's show was $3.20.

After Sis City, the order of finish was Dance Away Capote, For All We Know, and Ready and Alluring.

(Chart, Equibase)