The proprietors of Saratoga Race Course in its earliest years wanted to honor William Cottrell of Mobile, Alabama by naming a race for 3-year-old fillies after him. The English-born Cottrell was a prominent owner and breeder of his day, and his Buchanan won the 1884 Kentucky Derby. The self-effacing Cottrell requested the race be named after his adopted home state of Alabama instead of him. In 1872, the inaugural Alabama was won by August Belmont’s Woodbine. Today, the Grade 1 Alabama is the third leg of the New York Triple Tiara, the first two legs being the Acorn Stakes and the Coaching Club American Oaks.

Saturday, August 17, 2019, is the 139th edition, as the race was not run on nine occasions in the late 19th century and early 20th century. The prestigious race is contested at a distance of 1 ¼ miles on dirt. The undercard includes the 1 1/16 miles Grade 2 Lake Placid on turf for 3-year-old fillies and the Smart N Fancy, a 5 ½ furlong turf race for fillies and mares 3 years old and up. A TVG Promo Code offers incentives to wager.

The leading contenders for the $600,000 Alabama are: Dunbar Road, winner of the Mother Goose Stakes on June 29th; Lady Apple, third in the Kentucky Oaks and first in the Iowa Oaks; and Point of Honor, second in the Coaching Club American Oaks and first in the Black Eyed Susan at Pimlico.

Dunbar Road, the lightly raced daughter of Quality Road, has a career record of three wins in fours starts and was impressive in the Mother Goose by closing to win by 2 ½ lengths.

Point of Honor is well suited for the 10 furlongs, being by Curlin out of a Bernardini mare. Her second-place finish in the Coaching Club American Oaks was to her stablemate Guarana, who will likely start next in the Grade 1 Cotillion at PARX on September 21st.

Once the Alabama is in the books, fans can quickly turn their attention Saturday to Del Mar in southern California, where the TVG Pacific Classic will be contested on dirt at 1 ¼ miles. Del Mar’s preeminent race is for 3 year olds and up.

In addition to the Pacific Classic, Del Mar has carded four graded stakes, making Saturday’s program worth over $2 million: the $300,000 Grade I Del Mar Oaks; the $250,000 Grade II Del Mar Handicap; the $100,000 Grade III Torrey Pines Stakes; and the $100,000 Grade III Green Flash Handicap.

Barring a scratch, ten horses will contest the $1 million Pacific Classic. The favorites are likely to be California-based Pavel and Kentucky-shippers Seeking the Soul and Quip.

Pavel has raced against some of the best racehorses in the world and in some of the world’s richest races, though he did not finish in the top three spots in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Champions Cup in Japan, or the Dubai World Cup. Seeking the Soul and Quip finished first and second in the closely contested June 15th Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs. Seeking the Soul’s achievements include second-place finishes in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs and in the Pegasus World Cup in January 2019 at Gulfstream Park. The horse that beat him in both races, City of Light, is now retired.

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