With the aid of strategy and teamwork, Spit Curl won the 103rd running of the prestigious $100,000-added Alabama Stakes today.
The daughter of Northern Dancer drew away to an 8 1/2-length victory, but she would not have done it so easily--and might not have done it at all--without the contributions of her stablemate Tyrolean Miss.
Trainer Leroy Jolley had worried that the formidable filly Sabin might be the only speed horse in the small Alabama field. So he entered Tyrolean Miss as a "rabbit" and engaged the services of the crafty Angel Cordero Jr. to ride her. They did their job perfectly.
Tyrolean Miss set a slow early pace, as Jorge Velasquez restrained Sabin just outside her. Velasquez knew that if her tried to accelerate quickly, Tyrolean Miss would run with him, so he was forced to alter Sabin's usual free-running style. As the two of them raced abreast down the backstretch, Spit Curl and jockey Jean Cruguet stalked them.
When Spit Curl moved along the rail and Cordero graciously permitted his stablemate to get through inside him. Spit Curl opened a sudden two-length lead, as Sabin tried to take up the chase in vain. The winner drew away to cover the 1 1/4 miles in 2:02 2/5 for her first stakes victory. Lady Norcliffe raillied to finish second with Sabin third and favored High Schemes fourth. Tyrolean Miss was eased up to finish fifth and last.