Fourth Win Of The Day: Rosario Executes Perfectly-Timed Ashland Run Aboard Malathaat

Joel Rosario is on fire this Saturday at Keeneland. The veteran jockey orchestrated his fourth win on the card, and third straight, with a late-running nose triumph aboard 3-2 favorite Malathaat in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes. Owned by the late Sheikh Hamdan’s Shadwell operation, the 3-year-old daughter of Curlin and Grade 1 winner Dreaming of Julia (A.P. Indy) has now won all four of her career starts, and Saturday’s victory earned her 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks.

“She has a beautiful stride,” Rosario said. “This morning talking with (trainer Todd Pletcher), he told me exactly how to ride her. It looked like (the leader) was getting away from me but I knew my filly would be there for me.”

The leggy Malathaat was in a joint fourth position early on in the Ashland. She trailed six lengths behind leader Simply Ravishing through fractions of :24.26 and :48.56, Rosario patiently biding his time and keeping the lightly-raced filly on the outside of rivals.

Pass The Champagne made a big move around the far turn and stole away to a four-length lead at the top of the short stretch, but Rosario was getting Malathaat into high gear. Though Malathaat changed leads late and seemed rather green, Rosario had timed his run perfectly and nailed Pass the Champagne on the wire by a nose. She completed 1 1/16 miles over Keeneland’s fast main track in 1:42.94.

Bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet, Malathaat was a $1.05 million yearling purchase at the Keeneland September sale. Undefeated in four career starts, Malathaat has now earned over $400,000 and is guaranteed a spot in the starting gate for the April 30 Kentucky Oaks beneath the Twin Spires in Louisville, Ky.

“I can’t put it into words,” said an emotional Rick Nichols, Vice President and General Manager of winning owner Shadwell Stable. “I am sure (Sheikh Hamdan) is up there with a big smile on his face looking down on us. We really needed this.”

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