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Features - GAMBLING

Stopchargingmaria prevailed in the Alabama Stakes on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course. (Photo by Eclipse Sportswire)

By Shawn Rychling

After watching the 134th running of the Alabama Stakes, it’s difficult not to conclude that the 3-year-old filly division remains Untapable and everybody else. The race had a slow pace and a slow finish, resulting in a final time of 2:05.14 for the 1 ¼ miles.

That said, Stopchargingmaria ran a very good race to earn her second straight Grade I win at Saratoga Race Course. The Repole Stable/Todd Pletcher filly was bumped leaving the starting gate and floated three-wide around the first turn. From there, she rated in the three-path and steadily advanced around the far turn, taking over for good at the three-sixteenths pole. 

She now has six wins in 10 career starts and is a clear No. 2 in her division behind Untapable. However, the slow time and fact that she will be a short price going forward prevents us from giving her a letter for this race.

No horses earned letters as a result of late betting, but there were two late runners that did enough to earn a “B” on Hot List for the race.

Joint Return was sent off at 24-1 and, after lagging behind for the first mile, she began to rally on the rail and slipped through an opening at top of the stretch only to have to alter course into the three-path. She did run on from there to finish just three-quarters of a length behind the winner. Joint Return did get lucky when the rail opened up, but she was the only horse who was making up any ground while closing into the dawdling pace.

Going into the race, Unbridled Forever was given a chance by some to upset the favorite. But after a slow start, she had to move progressively wider off the rail down the backside until she was six-wide at the quarter-pole. She had a mild kick as they straightened away in the lane but then flattened out. She is a talented horse, but perhaps should try to duck the top two fillies if she wants to win and in hopes that she does, we’ll give her a “B” as well.

Hot List Horses:  Joint Return (B), Unbridled Forever (B)

Alabama Stakes Late-Wagering Report

No.

Horse

Odds – 3 min. to post

Final Odds

1

Unbridled Forever

6-1

5-1

2

Miss Besilu

26-1

30-1

3

America

14-1

20-1

4

Joint Return

19-1

24-1

5

Got Lucky

8-1

10-1

6

Fortune Pearl

10-1

10-1

7

Catch My Drift

10-1

10-1

8

Stopchargingmaria

1-1

1-1

9

Size

6-1

5-1

red white blue Bar

The $500,000 Grade 1 Sword Dancer Stakes

Sword Dancer Inside

Main Sequence (outside) edged Imagining to win the Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes on Sunday at Saratoga Race Course. (Photo by Eclipse Sportswire)

By Bill Cloutier

Main Sequence is certainly enjoying his stay in the United States.

The late-blooming, 5-year-old won his second straight Grade 1 event, capturing the Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes in dramatic fashion. The victory, coming on the heels of last month’s win in his U.S. debut in the United Nations Stakes, moved Main Sequence past the $1-million mark in career earnings.

Main Sequence caught front-running Imagining at the finish line in the 1 1/2-mile race on the turf as Rajiv Maragh asked his hard-closing gelding to accelerate heading into the third and final turn at Saratoga to capture the $500,000 race by a head with a stirring stretch drive.

Main Sequence paid $6.10 to win in a time of 2:24.72.

Ridden by Joel Rosario, Imagining was second and Twilight Eclipse, who slugged it out with Main Sequence in the United Nations, finished third.

It was the second Sword Dancer victory for trainer Graham Motion, who brought Main Sequence to the U.S. with the Arlington Million in mind but decided to skip that race in favor of the Sword Dancer. Motion, whose previous Sword Dancer win came in 2004 with Better Talk Now, leads all trainers with 12 stakes wins on the turf this year.

Main Sequence earned a Hot List grade of “A” for his victory, but even Motion cautioned that his horse needs to fix his problems at the starting gate, where he spotted the field several lengths, or he could face problems in the future.

Motion said he is pointing toward the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

We’ll also give Imagining a “B” for his gritty effort on the lead.

Hot List horses: Main Sequence (A), Imagining (B)

Sword Dancer Late Wagering Report

No.

Horse

Odds – 3 min. to post

Final Odds

1

O’Prado Ole

11-1

12-1

2

Perfect Timber

10-1

10-1

3

Amira’s Prince

8-1

8-1

4

Main Sequence

5-2

2-1

5

Imagining

2-1

2-1

6

War Dancer

6-1

7-1

7

Twilight Eclipse

7-2

7-2

The Hot List, founded by turf writer/handicapper Bob Ehalt in 2011, blends a detailed analysis of a race with late wagering trends to pick out the horses with the best chance of running a winning race in their next start. Hot List horses are rated in four lettered categories:

A : A preferred horse to watch off his effort in the race             
B : A secondary horse to watch off his effort in the race            
*C: Went down 2 or more betting notches in the final minutes of wagering and finished 1st through 3rd
*D: Went down 2 or more betting notches in the final minutes of wagering and finished 4th or worse
* - 4 or more betting notches if 11-1 or more.

For questions on the Hot List, email: nyhotlist@gmail.com

 

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