Kentucky-bred Malathaat got back to her winning ways with a determined come-from-behind victory in the $600,000 Alabama Stakes (G1) at Saratoga on Aug. 21.
Winner of the Kentucky Oaks (G1) and the Ashland Stakes (G1) earlier in the year, Malathaat was defeated in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) at Saratoga in her previous start where she was collared late by Maracuja. All told, the daughter of Curlin out of Dreaming of Julia, by A.P. Indy, is now a winner in six of seven career starts and the bay filly has banked $1,555,150.
In winning the 141st running of the historic Alabama for sophomore fillies, Malathaat became the fifth filly in the past decade to turn the Kentucky Oaks-Alabama double. After a slight stumble at the start of the 1 ¼-mile fixture under Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez, Malathaat settled in fifth position early. She inched toward the leaders in the run up the backstretch and made a strong four-wide move around the far turn. She collared Army Wife just inside the furlong marker and drew clear late to prevail by 1 ½ lengths at the wire. Malathaat covered the distance in 2:02.59 with fellow Kentucky-bred Clairere closing late to be second.
“Last time, it was difficult to figure out the right tactics and we kind of got tag teamed, as you’d expect to be in a prohibitive-favorite situation,” said Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher, who notched his third victory in the Alabama. “Today, we drew a better post, and we were able to let her find her rhythm and she showed why she’s the best 3-year-old filly in the country.
“With the exception of the stumble at the start, I felt pretty good the whole way,” Pletcher continued. “She recovered and got into a good position. She was in the clear.”
Velazquez added, “I saved ground on the first turn. I didn’t chase. I knew I was comfortable where I was, and she did it for me.”
Bred in the Bluegrass by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC, Malathaat is owned by Shadwell Stable. She was a $1,050,000 Keeneland September Sale graduate in 2019. Pletcher indicated that he did not rule out training Malathaat up to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) in November at Del Mar.