Malathaat Gets 95 Beyer Speed Figure For Alabama Win, Will Train Up To BC Distaff

Shadwell Stable’s Malathaat reasserted her dominance in the 3-year-old filly division with a powerful score in Saturday’s $600,000 Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher.

The regally bred daughter of Curlin earned a 95 Beyer Speed Figure for her third Grade 1 win, where she made a quick recovery after stumbling at the start, to settle three lengths off the pace in fifth down the backstretch. Malathaat made a sweeping four-wide move in upper stretch to win by 1 ½ lengths under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez.

Malathaat arrived at the Alabama after suffering her first defeat in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks on July 24, where she set the pace in a compact field and was ultimately collared by Maracuja, who finished last of seven in the Alabama.

“It was good to get back and get a reasonably good trip despite stumbling at the start,” Pletcher said. “It was a very, very strong performance. She looks good this morning.”

Malathaat won the Grade 2 Demoiselle on December 5 over a sloppy and sealed track at Aqueduct, making up considerable ground with little effort to win by three-quarters of a length.

Following a four-month layoff, Malathaat returned to capture the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes on April 3 at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., en route to a Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks score four weeks later at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

“She looked like she was hopelessly beaten and then ends up winning by daylight,” Pletcher recalled of the Demoiselle. “We were excited about stretching her out to a mile and a quarter and she handled it as well as we hoped that she would.”

With a trio of Grade 1 wins under her belt during a prosperous 2021 campaign, Malathaat is the current frontrunner for Eclipse Award honors for Champion 3-Year-Old Filly.

Recent Alabama winners to secure Champion 3-Year-Old Filly honors include Blind Luck [2010], Royal Delta [2011], Questing [2012], Songbird [2016], and Swiss Skydiver [2020].

Pletcher said Malathaat will likely train up to the $2 million Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff on November 6 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif.

“Right now, we’re focused on the Distaff, so we’ll zero in on that and take things from there. That’s the most likely scenario,” Pletcher said. “Nothing’s etched in stone, but that’s sort of the plan that we discussed with Rick Nichols [of Shadwell] a while ago.”

Pletcher previously secured Alabama triumphs with Princess of Sylmar [2013] and Stopchargingmaria [2014], the latter of whom captured the following year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, Malathaat is the second progeny out of the Grade 1-winning A.P. Indy mare Dreaming of Julia. She was bought for $1.05 million at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

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Pletcher has found recent success with first-time starting juveniles, saddling WinStar Farm and Siena Farm’s Major General and Robert and Lawanna Low’s My Prankster to impressive maiden scores on Saturday at the Spa.

Major General, a son of third-crop sire Constitution, led at every point of call in the 6 ½-furlong maiden tilt, and shook off a stretch confrontation from third-time starter Bourbon Heist to win by a neck under leading rider Luis Saez. Major General registered a 77 Beyer for the debut win.

“Major General was a little bit green yesterday,” Pletcher said. When that horse came to him, he looked him in the eye and found some horse, so we’re happy to see that.”

Six races later, My Prankster displayed stalking tactics down the backstretch along the rail before taking command from the outside around the far turn and romped home a 10-length winner under Saez. The son of leading sire Into Mischief garnered a 92 Beyer.

“He was very impressive, I thought he kicked on well down the lane and had something left in the tank, so it was very encouraging,” Pletcher said.

Pletcher did not have any plans for a next start for either horse.

“We’ll let the dust settle and see how it goes,” Pletcher said.

Bred in Kentucky by Circular Road Breeders, Major General is the first offspring out of the unraced Uncle Mo mare No Mo Lemons. He was bought for $420,000 from the Woods Edge Farm consignment at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

My Prankster, bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, was a $600,000 acquisition at the Fasig-Tipton Select Yearling Sale, where he was consigned by Summerfield. His is out of the Flower Alley mare My Wandy’s Girl who was a Group 1 winner in South America before scoring graded stakes black type in the United States.

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