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At a Glance: Wet Paint Looks Formidable in Alabama

The Alabama Stakes (G1) has long been one of the most important races in the United States for 3-year-old fillies and the list of past winners reads like a who’s who of distaff stars through the decades.

The 1 1/4-mile test at Saratoga Race Course also is the longest grade 1 dirt stakes for 3-year-old fillies and a key race on the road to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). Thus, it comes as no surprise that this year’s edition drew an outstanding 10-horse field.

1. Sacred Wish  (8-1 morning-line odds): Caught in the shadow of the wire by Wet Paint when second in the grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks. Another race of similar quality would make her a contender here but not sure the additional eighth of a mile will be to her benefit.

JOCKEY: John Velazquez; TRAINER: George Weaver

2. Wet Paint  (2-1): Has been a top 3-year-old filly all year with four stakes wins, most recently closing late to win the Coaching Club American Oaks. That was her first grade 1 victory after finishing fourth, beaten by three lengths, earlier this year in the Kentucky Oaks (G1). The 1 1/4 miles should be ideal for this formidable Blame   filly and she ran the best race of her career on this main track.

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JOCKEY: Flavien Prat; TRAINER: Brad Cox

3. Julia Shining  (5-1): Won both of her starts at 2 and generated a ton of buzz but has not been able to regain that winning form to date in two starts in 2023. Rested since finishing third, beaten by three-quarters of a length, in the Ashland Stakes (G1) in April, Julia Shining is a regally bred filly with significant upside if she can take a step forward.

JOCKEY: Luis Saez; TRAINER: Todd Pletcher

4. Sabra Tuff  (30-1): Winless in eight races since a debut win last June at Churchill Downs and unplaced in three starts this year, Sabra Tuff appears to be outclassed against this group.

JOCKEY: Rey Gutierrez; TRAINER: Dallas Stewart

5. Fireline  (12-1): Finished fourth at the odds-on favorite in the grade 3 Delaware Oaks July 1 after returning from a six-month layoff and impressively winning a one-mile allowance at Belmont Park in May. She’s a Juddmonte homebred with a nice pedigree who could take a big step forward here in her fifth start, and she will need to in order to compete against this group.

JOCKEY: Javier Castellano; TRAINER: Chad Brown

6. Chocolate Gelato  (15-1): A grade 1 winner at 2 last season, she looked like she needed a race coming back from seven months on the sidelines when fourth in the Jersey Girl Stakes at Monmouth Park in June. Broke her maiden on this track a year ago but 1 1/4 miles is a big question as she has not won around two turns.

JOCKEY: Jose Ortiz; TRAINER: Todd Pletcher

7. Gambling Girl  (8-1): The Kentucky Oaks runner-up finished third as the 6-5 favorite in the Coaching Club American Oaks and was 8 1/2 lengths behind the top two, who also return here. Did not have an obvious excuse in that race but has proved she can compete at the grade 1 level.

JOCKEY: Irad Ortiz Jr.; TRAINER: Todd Pletcher

8. Randomized  (9-2): There is not a ton of pace in this race and that could benefit Randomized, who enters off a front-running win going a mile on this main track in the July 14 Wilton Stakes. Has posted big speed figures in both of her wins, which came leading from start to finish, so expect Joel Rosario to be aggressive early and dare the others to come catch her.

JOCKEY: Joel Rosario; TRAINER: Chad Brown

9. Taxed  (8-1): Followed a 3 3/4-length romp in the grade 2 George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan Stakes with a second at 4-5 odds in the Indiana Oaks (G3) behind the filly just to her outside here. Should be passing horses late with a shot to rally for a minor award.

10. Defining Purpose  (10-1): Ashland Stakes winner faded late in the Kentucky Oaks, but she was back in elite form when winning the Indiana Oaks by 1 1/4 lengths July 8. A major contender.

JOCKEY: Brian J. Hernandez Jr.; TRAINER: Ken McPeek

THE PICK: Wet Paint

LIVE LONGSHOTS: Defining Purpose/Fireline

SUPERFECTA: 2-10-5-3

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