2021 Alabama Stakes (Saratoga) Predictions, Expert Picks, Odds

Alabama Stakes Saratoga 2021 Predictions

If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Maracuja (4/1)

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Post Position and Odds Alabama Stakes

Check out our predictions and odds for the Alabama Stakes at Saratoga! Click on ‘BET NOW’ below to head to TVG and place your bet. Get a $250 sign-up bonus at TVG.

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
1 CRAZY BEAUTIFUL 7/2
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J Ortiz K McPeek
2 WILL’S SECRET 12/1
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J Court D Stewart
3 CLAIRIERE 8/1
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I Ortiz Jr S Asmussen
4 MARACUJA 4/1
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R Santana Jr R Atras
5 PLAYED HARD 8/1
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L Saez P Bauer
6 MALATHAAT 8/5
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J R Velazquez T Pletcher
7 ARMY WIFE 6/1
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T Gaffalione M Maker

Malathaat, narrowly handed her first career defeat last time by Maracuja, will be out for revenge against that rival and five other 3-year-old fillies in Saturday’s Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga.

The winner of the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks two starts back, Malathaat is still the leader of the division, but the regally bred daughter of Curlin will need to bounce back after being upset in the Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga. Trained by Todd Pletcher, she is 5-of-6 overall, and a win in the 10 furlong Alabama would all but wrap up sophomore filly honors.

Standing in her way will again be Maracuja, who earned her first stakes victory after a rousing stretch duel with the heavily favored Malathaat. Second in the Gazelle at Aqueduct earlier this year, the daughter of Honor Code has only finished out of the money once in her 6-race career.

The Alabama is more than only a Coaching Club American Oaks rematch, however. The other five fillies all come in with credentials and are led by Crazy Beautiful and Army Wife, who each come in with two straight wins in graded stakes races.

Best Bets for the Alabama Stakes

Here are my plays ($50 in total)

$10 Exacta Box – Maracuja and Malathaat = $20
$5 Exacta Box – Maracuja, Malathaat, and Army Wife = $30
If you’re playing only to win, go with my top pick Maracuja (4/1).

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How to Watch the Alabama Stakes

Alabama Stakes Race Information
What Alabama Stakes (Grade 1)
Location Saratoga
Time Saturday, August 21 — 6:13 pm Eastern time
How to Watch Fox Sports 1
Purse $600,000

Race Analysis

Malathaat

All good things eventually end, and so it was for the perfect record of this top daughter of Curlin. Even in defeat, she ran a very good race last time in the Coaching Club American Oaks. She was stuck on the lead and was challenged before eventually succumbing to the rally of Maracuja, but not without putting up a great fight. This time around, she should be able to stalk the early speed of Played Hard, which likely will only help her down the lane. She is all class and bred to handle the classic distance. Getting another shot at Saratoga, she is the one to beat, but will likely still be a pretty heavy favorite. She is the most likely winner, but I do expect Maracuja to test her once again.

Crazy Beautiful

The attractive, gray daughter of Liam’s Map has connected on three good-looking graded stakes wins in her last four starts, and has done so across the nation. Unfortunately, she got off to a bad start in her biggest test to date and finished a well-beaten 10th behind Malathaat in the Kentucky Oaks. If you can fully excuse the effort, her recent wins are plenty to believe she can turn it around in the Alabama. I’m not quite willing to do that, though, as I fear she has not been beating the top competition in her wins. A threat to be sure, but I will take a stand against her as one of the favorites.

Maracuja

Three starts back this daughter of Honor Code ran a sneaky good race in her stakes debut when rallying for a solid second in the Grade 3 Gazelle without the benefit of any pace in front of her. Well back early and down on the inside, she never really could get into the Kentucky Oaks, but did pass horses in the stretch to finish mid-pack. A 14/1 shot in the Grade 1 Coaching Club Oaks, she put it all together running down Malathaat in the stretch to pull off a major upset. She won’t offer those kinds of odds again on Saturday, but I am expecting another strong effort. She clearly likes the track. Considering the difference in odds, she is the value pick to defeat Malathaat again.

Army Wife

Since switching to the main track for trainer Mike Maker, Army Wife has become a very consistent filly. She began this year with a game allowance win at Gulfstream Park in March, before finishing third behind Search Results and Maracuja in the Grade 3 Gazelle with less than an ideal trip. Since then she has been even better with a pair of impressive wins in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan and the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks. Now the late-running daughter of Declaration of War will get her shot against Grade 1 competition. As good as she is going of late, she rates a legitimate shot as she steps up in class.

Clairiere

After scoring in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra in only her third career start, this filly from the barn of Steve Asmussen has yet to connect in four graded stakes attempts since. She has continued to run good races, without being quite good enough to seriously threaten the winners. She has class and will have some odds on Saturday, but it’s hard to get too excited about her chances after seeing unable to keep up with Malathaat in the late stages of both the Kentucky Oaks and the Coaching Club American Oaks.

Played Hard

This speedy daughter of Into Mischief Played has won her last two starts after being stretched out to a distance of ground. She first easily wired a maiden race at Churchill Downs in June, before coming to Saratoga and taking them all the way in a 9 furlong allowance race by almost five lengths. The most likely to be on the early lead, the Alabama offers a significant class test, though, and might be a little too much for her at this stage of her career.

Will’s Secret

This daughter of Will Take Charge won two stakes in a row at Oaklawn Park earlier this year, including the Grade 3 Honeybee, before finishing third in a pair of Grade 1 races behind Malathaat. Most recently, though, she ended a streak of solid performances when finishing a disappointing sixth in the Indiana Oaks. At her best, she is a threat to hit the board, and she will likely have very attractive odds, coming off that poor performance.

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Brian Zipse

Expert on Horse Racing

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]