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Alabama Stakes Odds: Julia Shining Ready to Upset the Favorite This Saturday

Written by: Brian Zipse
Updated August 17, 2023
12 min read

Alabama Stakes Odds and Post Position

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2023 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga!

J VelazquezG Weaver
F PratB Cox
L SaezT Pletcher
R GutierrezD Stewart
J CastellanoC Brown
J OrtizT Pletcher
I Ortiz JrT Pletcher
J RosarioC Brown
R BejaranoR Morse
B J Hernandez JrK McPeek

Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.

Alabama Stakes Best Bets

Here are my plays ($60 in total)

  • $10 Exacta Part Wheel - Julia Shining and Wet Paint over Julia Shining, Wet Paint, Taxed, and Gambling Girl  = $60 
  • If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Julia Shining (9/2).

To ensure your bets, check out our Horse Racing Calculator, here!



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Alabama Stakes Odds

Already a four-time stakes winner this year, Wet Paint will look to strengthen her championship credentials when she headlines a field of ten sophomore fillies entered in Saturday’s Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga.

The daughter of Blame won three straight stakes earlier this year at Oaklawn Park and comes into Saturday’s 9-furlong test off a determined win over the Saratoga track for trainer Brad Cox. 

That victory came when she rallied past Sacred Wish by a neck in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks four weeks ago.

Sacred Wish and a host of challengers will look to upset Wet Paint in Alabama, including four more graded stakes winners.

Chief among them is the Todd Pletcher-trained Julia Shining and the Kenny McPeek-trained Defining Purpose.

The regally bred Julia Shining has always been well regarded but has only made four career starts. A graded stakes winner last year, she finished a close third behind Defining Purpose in the Grade 1 Ashland in her most recent start.

Defining Purpose, meanwhile, has won two of her last three. Three starts back she won the Ashland, and after an off-the-board finish in the Kentucky Oaks, she came back to win the Grade 3 Indiana Oaks in her most recent start.

Alabama Stakes Predictions and Race Analysis

Wet Paint

The deserving favorite certainly knows how to win. A gray daughter of Blame, she has won four stakes races this year and has run well in her two defeats. Most recently, she finished with a flourish to get up for the win in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks over the track. 

Trained by Brad Cox, she is clearly the horse to beat in Alabama. Having said all that, she rarely blows her competition away, and she was beaten in the Kentucky Oaks, which was her biggest test to date. 

It’s hard to look past her and as consistent as she is, using her in the exotics is a must. Still, as a heavy favorite, she is far from a sure thing in this deep field.

Julia Shining

This is the filly who I think has the best chance to upset the favorite on Saturday. Unbeaten in two starts last year, including a late-running win in the Grade 2 Demoiselle, this daughter of Curlin has not run badly in her two starts this year but did not have quite enough punch to get up late. 

A close-up third in the Grade 1 Ashland in April, we have not seen her since. Trainer Todd Pletcher is very good at bringing back his horses fresh, though, and I still think she has plenty of talent. 

Given some time to mature, I look for the well-bred filly to come back running in a race that seems to set up nicely for her. She is the top pick.

Defining Purpose

A Grade 1 winner of the Ashland three starts back at Keeneland, where she defeated Julia Shining, this Randy Morse-trained filly came up short down the stretch in the Kentucky Oaks. 

Given nine weeks off that effort, she returned sharply by beating Taxed to win the Grade 3 Indiana Oaks last time. With proven class and good tactical speed, she is a threat in any 3-year-old filly race. 

The Alabama sets up a little more like the Kentucky Oaks, though, with plenty of early pace. For that reason, I am siding with a few others who like to finish fast.

Gambling Girl

Sent off as a slight favorite over Wet Paint in the Coaching Club American Oaks, this New York-bred daughter of Dialed In never fired down the stretch and finished a well-beaten third. 

It was her first race since the Kentucky Oaks, where she ran a big race to finish a closing second for trainer Todd Pletcher. Given the race over the track and more speed to run at, an improved effort is expected here. 

She has yet to break through and win an open-stakes race but has run enough good races to know she is capable. I will use her in my exotics tickets on Saturday.

Sacred Wish

Not given much respect in a short field in the Coaching Club American Oaks, this George Weaver-trained filly ran a big race. 

A clear leader in the stretch, only a strong finish by Wet Paint denied her the victory. A similar performance certainly puts her in with a shot, but a stronger pace is expected this time around. 

The daughter of Not This Time might be putting it all together at the right time, but only once a winner in six career starts, she still has plenty to prove. She is a threat, but I do like others better in this Grade 1 spot.


The first of two for trainer Chad Brown, this lightly raced filly comes in off a gate-to-wire listed stakes win at Saratoga last month. Off that performance, she will get her second try against top stakes company. 

In her first try, the daughter of Nyquist faded out of the picture to finish sixth in the Grade 1 Acorn two starts back. 

Still improving, she deserves the shot on Saturday, but not only will the competition be tough but her job will also be made more difficult with other speed in the race.


The strong winner of the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan two starts back, this daughter of Collected followed that up with a solid runner-up finish behind Defining Purpose last time in the Indiana Oaks. 

Trained by Kenny McPeek, she has been a hard knocker this year. The Alabama will be her seventh straight stakes attempt in less than eight months. 

She’s only won once in the six but has finished second in three others. She has been beaten by Wet Paint three times, but with the speed to set up her rally and strong form coming in, she cannot be dismissed on Saturday.


The second from the Brown barn, this filly was disappointing when she failed last time as a heavy favorite in the Grade 3 Delaware Oaks. 

Her previous two races were promising enough to believe that the Arrogate filly is better than that dull effort, but she will need to run much better in her second stakes try to have any shot against these. 

I do expect improvement from the lightly raced filly on Saturday, but the level of competition will likely prove to be a little more than she wants at this point in her career.

Chocolate Gelato

This filly holds the distinction of being a Grade 1 winner. It came almost a year ago when she splashed home a winner in the Frizette over a sloppy Aqueduct racing surface. 

The third of three from Pletcher, she has only started twice since. She faded badly in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and then was not seen again until June.

In her return race, she ran evenly in a sprint stakes race at Belmont Park. She could improve in her second race back, but she looks more like a potential pace contender than a likely winner of Alabama.

Sabra Tuff

Only once a winner in nine career starts, this Dallas Stewart trainee looks to break an eight-race losing streak on Saturday. 

She has run against good horses with a few promising results, but those came last year. This season, she is 0-for-3 and has not come close to victory. 

Two races back, she was soundly beaten by Wet Paint. Most recently she was beaten at Saratoga by allowance competition. Off her recent form, it’s hard to recommend her against this field.



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How to Watch the Alabama Stakes

  • What: Alabama Stakes (Grade 1) 
  • Location: Saratoga
  • Time: Saturday, August 19 at 5:45 pm Eastern time
  • How to Watch: Fox Sports
  • Purse: $600,000
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Brian Zipse

288 Articles

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

Email: [email protected]

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