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Alabama Preview: Spice Is Nice Aiming for Major Paycheck
Spice Is Nice breaking her maiden (Credit: Coglianese Photos / Ryan Thompson)

Alabama Preview: Spice Is Nice Aiming for Major Paycheck

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Robert and Lawana Low’s million-dollar filly Spice Is Nice will try to cash a major paycheck while facing six other 3-year-old fillies in Saturday’s $500,000 Alabama Stakes (G1) at Saratoga.

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The winner of the Alabama will receive an automatic position in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Longines Distaff (G1) this fall at Keeneland. Pre-entry and entry fees will be paid and a nominator award of $10,000 will be given to the nominating person. Also, all Breeders’ Cup starters based outside of the state of Kentucky will receive a travel allowance of $10,000 if based in North America and $40,000 if based Internationally.

The Alabama is also the final event of the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. The top four finishers will receive Kentucky Oaks points on a 100-40-20-10 basis.

Let’s take a look at the full field:

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#1 Envoutante – She made her dirt stakes debut in the Ashland Stakes (G1) on July 11, finishing third behind Speech and Venetian Harbor, with the latter returning to run second in last weekend’s Test Stakes behind top Kentucky Oaks contender Gamine. Both career victories came routing, but she’ll need to overcome her propensity for struggling to change leads.

#2 Spice Is Nice – The Lows plopped down $1.05 million on this Curlin daughter in the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale and placed her with trainer Todd Pletcher, who saddled her to a dominating 12-length debut victory in January. Second and fifth in a pair of Grade 2 tries before taking three months off, she returned to defeat an optional claiming field on July 3.

#3 Crystal Ball – She nearly won the 1 1/8-mile CCA Oaks (G1) over the local dirt on July 18, dueling gamely from start to finish inside of the eventual victor. That was an ultra-impressive effort, considering she just broke her maiden 1 race prior, and that experience should give her a fighter’s chance against the expected heavy favorite drawn two posts to her outside.

#4 Bonny South – She took home the first-place check in 3 straight races during the spring, including the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), before taking a break when the pandemic hit. Her first start back saw her finish fourth in the Ashland, so she should theoretically improve in her second start off the bench and stands to benefit if a hot early pace melts down.

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#5 Swiss Skydiver – The deserving favorite won 3 straight graded stakes earlier this year and her 350 accumulated Oaks points are more than double that of the second-place filly. Her connections put her talent on the line against males in the Blue Grass Stakes (G2) last time out, finishing second behind leading Kentucky Derby (G1) contender Art Collector.

#6 Harvey’s Lil Goil – She swapped over to the turf last time out and pulled off an 11/1 upset in the 1 1/8-mile Regret Stakes (G3) and previously won the Busanda Stakes while going that same distance on dirt. If she succeeds here, the daughter of 2015 Triple Crown champion American Pharoah will have done the one thing that her sire could not – win on the Saratoga dirt.

#7 Fire Coral – She closed from well off the pace to finish fourth in the Indiana Oaks (G3) last time out while looking like she wanted to run much farther than the 1 1/16 miles that she covered that day. Though she’s failed to hit the board in her past 3 starts, she hails from a Steve Asmussen barn that’s already won 4 graded stakes on the Saratoga dirt this meet (through Wednesday).

The Alabama Stakes serves as race 9 with a local post time of 5:43 PM Eastern and is one of two stakes on the Saturday card at Saratoga, along with the Saratoga Derby Invitational.

The American-based Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” events continue on August 22 with the TVG Pacific Classic Stakes (Longines Classic) and the Del Mar Handicap (Longines Turf) at Del Mar, as well as the Fourstardave Handicap (TVG Mile) at Saratoga.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is presented by America’s Best Racing.

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