Juddmonte Farms' homebred Flute led all the way around the main track at Saratoga Saturday in winning the $750,000 Alabama Stakes (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies. Under Edgar Prado, the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner completed the 1 1/2 miles in 2:01.88 on a fast track, tying with Maplejinsky (2:01 4/5) for the fifth fastest running of the Alabama.
"Right now, she's the head of the class," said trainer Bobby Frankel.
Queen's Plate winner Dancethruthedawn tracked Flute through fractions of :47.26 and 1:11.34, before Flute pulled away to lead by six lengths in the stretch.
"It didn't seem like anyone wanted the lead, that's why we went up front," said Prado. "She felt comfortable the whole time; I just took a long, nice hold of her. When we opened up around the first turn, she relaxed better. She took off around the second turn and she did it so easily. Before she took off, I was a little nervous because I thought she was a little too relaxed. When they took a run at her, she spurted clear."
Exogenous closed meekly into that margin to finish second, 4 3/4 lengths behind the winner. Two Item Limit finished another 2 3/4 lengths behind in third and was followed by Dancethruthedawn, Real Cozzy, Tweedside, and Unrestrained.
The odds-on choice in the wagering, Flute returned $3.70, $2.80, and $2.50. Exogenous paid $10.60 and $6.70. Two Item Limit returned $6.90. The winning exacta combination paid $47.60.
The win marks the fourth in six starts for the lightly raced filly. After winning the Kentucky Oaks in May, Flute (Seattle Slew--Rougeur, by Blushing Groom) was given some time off before returning to win a Saratoga allowance race by 3 1/4 lengths last month. Her only defeats came in a second-place finish to Golden Ballet in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) and her racing debut in December.
"She ran a great race. If you know her, you know this is the best of her," said Frankel. "When she got to the lead, she started playing around and she started waiting for other horses. I'm going to think about her next start. I might just wait for the Breeders' Cup." (Chart, Equibase