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SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Peter Brant’s Dunbar Road stamped herself as a legitimate threat after she splashed home strongly in the slop to win Saturday’s $600,000 Alabama Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) at Saratoga.
Breaking from the rail under Jose Ortiz, Dunbar Road relaxed toward the rear as the field headed down the front stretch toward the clubhouse turn. Meanwhile, Champagne Anyone and Ulele took turns dueling through opening fractions of :24.14, :48.97, and 1:13.43.
Heading into the far turn, Point of Honor and jockey Javier Castellano made a four-wide move to the front, and Dunbar Road followed close behind her. At the top of the stretch, Champagne Anyone soon gave way, but Street Band appeared between her and Point of Honor and joined the fight.
Dunbar Road closed strongly down the middle of the track, kicking away from Point of Honor and Street Band before crossing the wire. The Chad Brown trainee finished 2 3/4 lengths much the best in a final time of 2:04.07 for the 1 1/4-mile sloppy (sealed) main track event.
“My goal is to go to the Hall of Fame, and to go to the Hall of Fame, I have to win these types of races,” said Ortiz, who also won this race in 2018 and 2017. “I was hoping to go to the lead, but the other horses broke well, too, and I just had to sit into the first turn, but she relaxed really good. At the 5/8 pole, I started working my way out and followed Javier through the turn. It was a little wide, but I didn’t want to be a hero and try to split horses. I felt like I had a lot of horse.”
Point of Honor fought hard in the stretch with the stubborn Street Band before just edging her by a nose for second. It was 5 3/4 lengths back to Off Topic in fourth, with Afleet Destiny a 1/2-length behind her. Chapagne Anyone, Ulele, and Lady Apple completed the order of finish.
Kelsey’s Cross was scratched.
Dunbar Road’s win was her third straight and her second at the graded level after taking the 1 1/16-mile Mother Goose Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park. The 3-year-old daughter of Quality Road now carries a mark of 5-4-1-0 with $587,900 earned.
“I was concerned about the experience because it is only the fifth start of her life, and the 1 1/4 miles coming from 1 1/16 miles, but she’s a good filly and she really handled it,” Brant said. “She’s very special.”
Dunbar Road returned $5.50 to win, $3.30 to place, and $2.80 to show. Point of Honor brought back $3.60 to place and $3.10 to show, while Street Band paid $4.30 to show.
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