Saturdays feature event at Saratoga is the 142nd running of the Alabama Stakes.
The prestigious stakes race for 3-year-old fillies is one of the oldest races for females in the United States, with its first edition taking place in 1872 in a race Won by WOODBINE, a horse owned by August Belmont.
The race itself was not precisely named in honor of the great state of Alabama; rather, it was named after Confederate Captain William Cottrell of Mobile, Alabama.
Cottrell was heavily involved with thoroughbred racing and breeding before and after his service in the Civil War.
When approached by the Saratoga Association in 1872 about having a race named in his honor, he proved too modest to have a race named for him personally and requested it be named after his home state.
Cottrell, who came to the United States from England during the 1840’s, was an owner as well as breeder.
His horse ASCENSION ran 10th in the inaugural Kentucky Derby in 1875, but he also owned BUCHANAN who Won the Run for the Roses in 1884.
Just as the Kentucky Oaks stands as the female version of the Derby, the Alabama is the female edition of the Travers Stakes.
The Grade 1 Alabama is open to three-year old fillies, is run at the classic distance of a mile & 1/4 on the dirt and offers a purse of $600,000 dollars.