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Thoughts, news and notes from the sports staff of The Saratogian newspaper, located in historic Saratoga Springs, New York. The gang in the corner office on Lake Avenue give you the post-game wrap-ups, news and notes from the games we cover and opinions about the sports we read about every day.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Who was The Alabama Stakes named after? Charles Cort thinks he knows.

When Questing dominated the field en route to a win in the 132nd running of The Alabama Stakes Saturday, it answered a few questions like "who is the top 3-year-old filly right now?" and "can jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. recover from two spills in two days and still guide a horse to victory?" (the answers are Questing and yes).
However, as a newcomer to horse racing, there was one burning question I had that wasn't answered — why is there a race named The Alabama run in Saratoga?
It turns out Spanish Fort, Ala., resident Charles Cort made a YouTube video in May explaining everything. Enthusiastically too.
So one theory is that horseman and Mobile, Ala., native William Cottrill was too humble to have the race named after him. Instead, he requested it be named after his home state of Alabama. It should be noted that although Cottrill and his wife both died on February 14, it was in different years. William Cottrill died in 1887 while Sarah Cottrill died in 1866.
Thanks for the presentation Mr. Cort and may you never lose your enthusiasm for the history of horse racing.

 — By David M. Johnson