Friday, August 15, 2008

Sweet Home Alabama

Seems like only yesterday I was sitting in the Grandstand on a beautiful Sunny August day watching the Alabama Stakes. Carl Nafzger trainee Lady Joanne riden by Calvin Borel, was the 9-2 third choice behind Panty Raid and Octave. Lear's Princess, who was near the back of the field early, followed Lady Joanne into the final stretch. The pair battled through the final furlong, with Lady Joanne holding off Lear's Princess in the final strides to prevail by a neck in 2:03.62.

Well, a year later and the 'Bama Stakes features a strong 6 horse field of 3 year old fillies. Oaks winner Proud Spell (2nd in the TBA standings) will be challenged by Music Note and Little Belle. The caveat here is that Music Note could be a morning scratch if Goldophins Stable decides to run her against the boys in the Travers Stakes next Saturday. In this corner, I hope Music Note stays in the Alabama. I am more excited to see her run against these 3 year old fillies rather than see her run next week in the Travers. Also keep an eye on Sweet Vendetta, winner of the Black Eyed Susan at Pimlico and Muska, last years Demoiselle Stakes winner. In short this race has alot of Juice and should be fun.

The 'Bama crowd at the Spa always seem to be lively and this year, with Sun (ok , some clouds mixed in and a chance of showers) forecast and The Sword Dancer on the undercard, expect a big crowd. I had some extra Grandstand seats and I had many takers when I offered them to the first responder. With nice weather, the eagerness to enjoy a sunny day at the Spa is suddenly a commodity.

Attendance has also picked up with 19,000 plus on Wednesday and Thursday this week and 20,000 plus on Friday. Last years Alabama Stakes card drew 33,083. Based on the encouraging #'s this week and the nice forecast (so far) for Saturday look for a crowd between 32,000-35,000. With a new giveway day on Sunday, and an even better day forecast-the long sleeve T-Shirt-expect a strong "spinner" # of 55,000 plus. The giveway shirt is white with a cheap looking silk screen photo imprint on the front and sure to lose it's shape after one washing but that will not stop the spinners from coming out.

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