May 30, 2020

Perfect Alibi, Frank’s Rockette renew rivalry; Figure of Speech joins Spinaway fray

Perfect Alibi (left) wins the Adirondack (c) NYRA/Coglianese Photography

The 128th running of the Spinaway (G1) highlights the penultimate day of the Saratoga season on Sunday, featuring a rematch from the Adirondack (G2) plus a few promising stakes debutantes in the $350,000 prize for juvenile fillies.

In the Adirondack, the Mark Casse-trained Perfect Alibi burst through to defeat odds-on favorite Frank’s Rockette by a half-length, but that summary doesn’t tell the whole story. Frank’s Rockette was bounced around like a proverbial pinball when trying to split foes in upper stretch, and a clean passage might have made a difference. The Bill Mott pupil, who was coming off an 8 3/4-length debut romp at Churchill Downs, figures to benefit from the Adirondack experience.

Perfect Alibi, herself a 9 1/2-length winner first out at Churchill, already had a stakes education going into the Adirondack. Runner-up as the 6-5 favorite in the June 6 Astoria at Belmont, the Sky Mesa filly took a step forward at the Spa. Casse told NYRA publicity that Perfect Alibi is still improving as she tries to become the first to turn the Adirondack/Spinaway double since Mani Bhavan (2008).

“I think she’s bigger and stronger now than she was a few weeks ago, so she’s definitely training and moving forward,” Casse said. “She’s doing as well, if not better than she was, heading into the Adirondack, so I expect her to run back. I think the seven furlongs will be a plus.”

Added ground could help the other Adirondack alumna, Miss Peppina, who rallied for fourth at the end of the 6 1/2-furlong sprint. The daughter of freshman sire Bayern adds Lasix for trainer Gary Gullo. The remaining entrant with stakes experience, Shippy, was last seen a tough-trip third in the Spa’s first graded event in the division, the July 11 Schuylerville (G3). Since transferred to Kathy Ritvo, the Laurel maiden conqueror over five furlongs tops the field in BRIS Prime Power but is a question at this distance.

The three making their stakes debuts are all by Into Mischief. Also the sire of Frank’s Rockette, the Spendthrift patriarch is responsible for more than half of the Spinaway field – four of the seven fillies in the line-up.

Leading trainer Chad Brown sends out Figure of Speech for leading owner Klaravich Stables. The way she drew off in her 5 1/2-furlong unveiling here suggests she’ll be effective over seven.

Risky Mischief wired fellow New York-breds by 7 1/2 lengths on the same day, July 31, and the Jeremiah Englehart trainee seeks to become a third-generation Saratoga stakes winner. Dam Risky Rachel counted the 2012 Union Avenue among her six career stakes victories, and second dam Dancin Renee scored her signature win in the 1997 Honorable Miss (G3).

OXO Equine’s Mundaye Call, by far the most expensive auction purchase in the Spinaway as a $950,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling, appeared on her way to justifying 4-5 favoritism in her debut. But after showing high speed, the Don Chatlos juvenile was run down late by the savvier Lotta Ott. Now she tries another furlong on the class hike, and drawing the rail implies forward tactics again. Yet Mundaye Call sports a superb pedigree as a descendant of noted matron Blush With Pride, and as a three-quarter sister to Grade 3-winning sire Can the Man, the third-placer in the 2013 Del Mar Futurity (G1).