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Aug 15, 2008

Proud Spell and Music Note highlight Alabama Stakes


Saratoga Springs, NY (Sports Network) - Proud Spell and Music Note, two of this year's leading three-year-old fillies, top a field of six for Saturday's 128th running of the $600,000 Alabama at Saratoga Race Course. The 1 1/4-mile race is the companion event for the following week's Travers.

The two fillies have drawn the inside post positions with Music Note to the outside of Proud Spell. Earlier this year in the Mother Goose Stakes, Music Note registered a 3 1/2-length victory over 1-2 favorite Proud Spell

Owned by former Kentucky Governor Brereton Jones, Proud Spell is trained by Larry Jones and will be ridden Gabriel Saez. The filly is coming off a win in the Delaware Oaks at Delaware Park to go along with her earlier victories in the Kentucky and Fair Grounds Oaks.

Also this year Proud Spell was second to Indian Blessing in the Silverbulletday Stakes and third to Little Belle, another Alabama starter, in the Ashland Stakes.

Second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies last year. Proud Spell has six wins from ten career starts with earnings of $1,6 million.

Music Note and Little Belle are both owned by Godolphin Stable and trained by Saeed bin Suroor, and are coupled as an entry. Music Note will be ridden by Javier Castellano and Little Belle will have Rajiv Maragh in the saddle.

Music Note is also being considered by her connections as a possible starter in the Travers versus the boys.

"I think they're not opposed in general to it," said Godolphin's Rick Mettee, "you see it more in Europe because they're running on the grass and of course it's a lot easier on the grass where they're basically just in most of the races going along at a reasonable pace and just a sprint home. But there are some circumstances surrounding this that makes this, obviously it's the Travers, it's a $1 million, it's a classic race, but you know one of the circumstances would be we have Little Belle for the race too"

Music Note is on a four race win streak, including the Coaching Club American Oaks and the Mother Goose. She has earned $398,000 in five lifetime starts.

Little Belle has finished second in her last two starts, the Coaching Club and the Kentucky Oaks. This year along with the Ashland, she won the Busher Stakes at Aqueduct in February.

"She's kind of a tough, hard knocking filly," said Mettee of Little Belle. "She's kind of a one-pace, kind of grind it out type of filly."

The three-year-old has won three of eight career starts with $579,395 in earnings.

Here is the full field in post position order for the Alabama: Proud Spell, Gabriel Saez; Music Note, Javier Castellano; Skylighter, Edgar Prado; Mushka, John Velazquez; Little Belle, Rajiv Maragh and Sweet Vendetta, Ramon Dominguez.

Castellano won the race on Pine Island two years ago and John Velazquez claimed victory twice, 1996 with Yanks Music and 2003 with Island Fashion.

The Alabama has a scheduled post-time of 5:30 p.m. (et).

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