G2 Winner Tops Field of Seven in 1 1/8-Mile Turf Stakes Saturday
BALTIMORE, Md.— Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Michael Caruso’s Grade 2 winner Plum Ali, winless in her last three starts, faces six rivals as she chases a fifth career stakes victory in Saturday’s $100,000 All Along at historic Pimlico Race Course.
The 51st running of the All Along for fillies and mares 3 and up going 1 1/8 miles on the grass is one of four stakes worth $875,000 in purses on a 10-race program headlined by the $200,000 Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G3).
Also on tap are a pair of six-furlong dirt sprints, the $100,000 Lite the Fuse for 3-year-olds and up featuring Grade 3 winner Jaxon Traveler, 3-for-4 lifetime at Pimlico, and $75,000 Shine Again for non-winners of an open sweepstakes which drew a wide-open field of nine fillies and mares 3 and older.
Post time is 12:40 p.m.
Trained by Christophe Clement throughout her career, Plum Ali is a 4-year-old daughter of First Samurai that fetched $65,000 as a yearling in 2019 and has gone on to win five of 15 starts and $767,042 in purses. She signaled her quality early on, winning each of her first three races including the 2020 Mint Juvenile Fillies at Kentucky Downs and Miss Grillo (G2) at Belmont Park before running fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Keeneland.
“She is doing well. She’s a nice horse, good filly,” Clement said. “We looked at our choices and said, ‘Let’s go to Pimlico.’ It seems like a good spot for her.”
Plum Ali began this season by winning the one-mile Plenty of Grace April 16 at Belmont after ending 2021 with a victory in the 1 1/16-mile Winter Memories at Aqueduct. She was a disappointing seventh in the Beaugay (G3) in May at Belmont before rebounding with solid efforts running fourth by three lengths in the July 2 Nassau (G2) at Woodbine and second by a length in the De La Rose Aug. 7 at Saratoga, both going one mile.
“She’s a really good filly. I thought she was a little bit unlucky in Canada when she finished fourth and she came back and ran well in a good stakes at Saratoga, just got beat,” Clement said. “She won the stake before in New York. She’s won a graded stakes before.
“She’s been a very special horse for us. She’s been very straightforward, no issues. I think she’ll be very competitive.”
Plum Ali finished second by a length to Our Flash Drive in the one-mile Fasig-Tipton De La Rose at Saratoga on Aug. 7, 2022.
Plum Ali has tried 1 1/8 miles twice before, running second by a half-length to Con Lima in the Wonder Again (G3) and fifth, beaten less than two lengths, in the Sands Point (G2), both last year at Belmont. Clement is not worried about stretching her out off back-to-back mile efforts.
“The distance won’t be an issue for her,” he said. “The race at Saratoga going a mile I thought might have been a touch too short for her, so I think she’ll be very happy to go a mile and an eighth. She’s very versatile. She can wait and she can come from out of it, or she can be on the lead. You can do whatever you want with her.”
Dylan Davis, who traveled to Canada for the Nassau, will be in town to ride from Post 4 at 122 pounds.
Sharing topweight of 124 pounds are Capital Structure (GB) and Gladys. Klaravich Stables, Inc.’s Capital Structure is trained by Chad Brown, who ran first and third, respectively, in the 2020 All Along with multiple graded-stakes winner Nay Lady Nay and subsequent Grade 3 winner Beautiful Lover.
Capital Structure, bred in England, exits a two-length optional claiming allowance victory going 1 3/8 miles July 31 at Saratoga. The 5-year-old mare has tried stakes company before, finishing fifth by three lengths in the 2020 American Oaks (G1) going 1 ¼ miles at Santa Anita. Feargal Lynch has the call from Post 3.
Dede McGehee’s Gladys has placed twice in graded-stakes, finishing third in both the 1 1/8-mile Hillsborough (G2) March 12 at Tampa Bay Downs and 1 3/8-mile Robert G. Dick Memorial (G3) July 9 at Delaware Park. In her most recent effort, she raced up near the leaders for six furlongs before winding up seventh, beaten 4 ½ lengths, in the 1 1/16-mile Old Nelson Aug. 16 at Colonial Downs. Junior Alvarado is named from outermost Post 7.
Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, winner of the All Along in back-to-back years with Onus (2016) and On Leave (2017), returns with Stuart Janney III’s homebred In a Hurry. The 5-year-old daughter of Blame is still seeking her first stakes victory, having run third in each of her last three starts – the May 21 Gallorette (G3) at Pimlico, July 16 Big Dreyfus at Laurel Park and Old Nelson. Second in the Laurel’s April 23 Dahlia to open 2022, she was third by a length in the Suwannee River (G3) last December at Gulfstream Park.
Forest Boyce, McGaughey’s go-to rider in Maryland, will be in the irons from Post 5.
Like In a Hurry, Godolphin homebred Lake Lucerne is also chasing an elusive stakes win after being graded-stakes placed. Trained by Brendan Walsh, the 5-year-old mare is seeking to end a seven-racing losing streak dating back to an optional claiming allowance triumph last September at Saratoga. She has placed twice since, running third in the 1 1/8-mile Athenia (G3) at Belmont in her subsequent start and the1 1/16-mile Indiana General Assembly Distaff July 9 at Horseshoe Indiana.
Lake Lucerne is coming out of fifth-place finish in the 1 1/16-mile Trillium (G3) over the all-weather surface Aug. 13 at Woodbine. In her last try at the All Along distance, she was fourth by two lengths at odds of 33-1 in the May 6 Modesty (G3) behind next-out Grade 1 winner Bleecker Street. Fellow multiple graded-stakes winner Fluffy Socks, who captured the 2020 Selima at Pimlico, was second.
Lake Lucerne winning an allowance at Churchill Downs May 14, 2021. Forward to 6:28 on video for Race 5.
“She’s doing great. She’s been working great and doing well. This is a tough spot, but I feel if she runs to her best race and gets a little luck in running, she should be very competitive,” Walsh said. “We did put blinkers on her two starts back and she ran really well at Indiana. She was a little bit prominent behind a fast pace and just paid the price for it at the end. That might have been her best race yet.
“Her last race, I think we draw a line through it because she just didn’t have a great trip and it was the Polytrack, so she had some excuses,” he added. “There’s a couple of real nice fillies in here but I feel like if she reproduces her Indiana run or her run at Churchill on Derby weekend, then that should be good enough to put her right there.”
Lake Lucerne will break from the rail with Sheldon Russell aboard.
Rounding out the field are Elements Racing’s Champagne Toast, most recently fifth in the Fort Indiantown Gap Aug. 19 at Penn National and winless in three prior tries on turf; and Jaroslaw Kowalczyk’s Youens, returning stateside after a pair of races on the Woodbine turf this summer.
The All Along is named for the French-bred filly that won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Rothmans International, Turf Classic and Laurel’s Washington D.C. International in the span of 41 days in 1983 en route to becoming the first foreign-based horse to be voted U.S. Horse of the Year. A winner of nine races and more than $3 million in purses from 21 starts, she was inducted into the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame in 1990.
David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
Photo of Plum Ali winning the 2020 Miss Grillo at Saratoga by Chelsea Durand