May 31, 2020

Perfect Alibi threads needle in Spinaway

Perfect Alibi outdueled Frank's Rockette in the Spinaway (c) NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography

Tracy Farmer’s Perfect Alibi overturned favorite Frank’s Rockette once again at Saratoga, but Sunday’s $350,000 Spinaway (G1) answered the lingering question left from their Adirondack (G2) tussle.

While Frank’s Rockette could point to trouble last time, she had clear sailing in this rematch. Instead it was Perfect Alibi who had to overcome a tight spot to prevail, and become the first filly to capture both the Adirondack and Spinaway since Mani Bhavan (2008).

Underestimated as the 5-1 fourth choice, the Mark Casse trainee bided her time near the back of the pack as a swift pace unfolded up front. Frank’s Rockette chased the well-bred maiden Mundaye Call through fractions of :22.65 and :45.45, then took command entering the stretch. The tiring Mundaye Call left an inviting opening on the rail, and Perfect Alibi seized it in a bold rally for Irad Ortiz Jr. The battle was on as the top two from the Adirondack left the rest behind.

That seam on the inside narrowed, however. Frank’s Rockette, all out to try to fend off Perfect Alibi, tightened her up under pressure. The dueling pair bumped in deep stretch, but the brave Perfect Alibi was undeterred, and her stamina came to the fore in the final yards. Imposing her will on the 9-5 favorite, the Sky Mesa filly edged 1 1/4 lengths clear to finish seven furlongs in 1:23.44.

Frank’s Rockette crossed the wire five lengths ahead of Figure of Speech, a 7-2 chance who ran a bit greenly in her stakes debut. Both place-getters are by Into Mischief, sire of no fewer than four in the race. Miss Peppina, fourth in the Adirondack, again rounded out the superfecta in the Spinaway. Next came Shippy, Risky Mischief, and Mundaye Call, the latter two also by Into Mischief.

Perfect Alibi rewarded her fans with a $12.40 win payout, and boosted her earnings to from her 4-3-1-0 record. The debut romper at Churchill Downs suffered her lone loss when runner-up in the June 6 Astoria.

Bred by Pin Oak Stud in Kentucky and purchased for $220,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling, the dark bay is a half-sister to Grade 2-placed turf performer Noble Thought. Their dam, the stakes-winning Maria’s Mon mare No Use Denying, is herself a half to Grade 2-placed sire Badge of Truth and stakes-placed Happy Voice.

Perfect Alibi is closely related to another Sky Mesa filly, multiple stakes scorer Happy Mesa, a daughter of Happy Voice. This is also the family of Missed the Storm, the 1993 Test (G1) winner. Further back, one finds Hall of Famers Winning Colors (who beat the boys in the 1988 Kentucky Derby [G1]) and Chris Evert, ancestress of champion Chief’s Crown among others.

Perfect Alibi is on course for a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) “Win and You’re In” event. Casse’s options are to stretch her out to two turns for the October 4 Alcibiades (G1) at Keeneland or advance to the October 6 Frizette (G1) around Belmont’s one-turn mile.

Quotes from NYRA

Winning trainer Mark Casse: “She amazes me because she’s just so laid back and doesn’t get excited about anything. When the gate opens, she’s tough. I wasn’t sure if she was going to get through (on the rail). I knew if she could just get her head in front, she would probably be fine. What a nice filly.

“This filly is just a fighter. She keeps coming. I think the farther she runs, the better she likes it.”

Winning rider Irad Ortiz Jr.: “She has a lot of heart. She showed she had a lot of fight in her last time out as well. So I wasn’t afraid to make that tight space with her. I didn’t have too many options and when I saw the space along the rail, I went for it.”

Jockey Julien Leparoux on runner-up Frank’s Rockette: “She ran a good race as planned. I think the distance might have got me today. Other than that, she ran a good race. It looks like, so far, she might want to go a little shorter. Maybe keep her at six, 6 1/2 (furlongs). She can do seven, but she got a little tired.”