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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Alabama Slammer

Princess of Sylmar being led to
winners circle by owner Edward Stanco
It's too bad there's not a filly Triple Crown (or Tiara) because there's a good chance Princess of Sylmar would have swept all three races this summer. After backing up her Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks win on opening weekend at the Spa with a convincing victory in the Coaching Club American Oaks she set herself up for a divisional title with a win in Saturday's $600,000 Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.

The only likely challenger, Fiftyshadesofhay wasn't much of a threat while the Majestic Warrior filly circled the field winning by 2 1/2-lengths over the field of five in the nationally televised race. She's all but locked up the 3-year-old filly division with her third consecutive Grade 1 victory. There's a chance she's done for the year with only races at Parx (Cotillion) and Belmont (Beldame) currently being considered for the filly. She's not Breeders' Cup nominated, although that fee is a pittance based on her year-to-date earnings. The connections appear to want to take a break and point towards a 4-year-old campaign (one likely without Royal Delta in the mix, mind you).

The Space Gal accompanied me for a nice weekend at the Spa which commenced early Saturday morning with a visit to Leah Gyramati's barn to visit some of the Bona Venture Stables crew and horses. We spend time with Nicholson (named after Orlando Magic first round draft pick Andrew Nicholson, a 2012 Bona grad), Smooth Bert and Bullet Baby. Smooth Bert worked four furlongs in 47 and 4 and looks ready to go for Wednesday's Albany Stakes where he'll attempt to prevent Amberjack from a $250K bonus in winning the Big Apple Triple, last won by the late Tin Cup Chalice. Mike Luzzi will have the mount on Smooth Bert.

I learned that Gyramati is quite the animal lover, she's currently nursing an abandoned baby squirrel back to health. She was under a heating pad in her barn and was fed some milk during our visit...quite the sight.

Here are some pictures from the backstretch and from the day, mostly around the Sword Dancer and the Alabama....

Hervie Castillo readies to work Smooth Bert (upper right)
in his best pink pants (he lost a bet)
Bottom left - Sweet Reason (broke her maiden last week)

Trainer Leah Gyramati nurses a baby
squirrel back to health
Midnight Taboo - Repole Stables
Terry Finley, Tom Albertrani confer with
Twilight Eclipse jockey Javier Castellano
Jersey Joe Bravo gets a leg up
on Sword Dancer winner Big Blue Kitten
Twilight Eclipse- runner-up
in the Sword Dancer
Nutello - show horse
Tannery - only filly in Sword Dancer
field finished fourth
First time by in the Sword Dancer
Big Blue Kitten soars to the win
Jersey Joe celebrates
Big Blue Kitten - winners circle
Sword Dancer trophy presentation
King of Prussia Stables owner Ed Stanco
Pletcher saddles the Princess
Carnival Court trainer Kiaran McLaughlin
Javier Castellano aboard Princess of Sylmar
Irad Ortiz Jr. on Carnival Court
First time by in the Alabama
Princess of Sylmar by 2 1/2-lenghts
Mike Battaglia interviews the Toddster
on NBC Sports Network
Princess of Sylmar with Ed Stanco
after a quick dousing
The top 3-year-old filly in the land



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