Undefeated Demoiselle Winner Malathaat Florida-Bound; Pletcher Thinking Kentucky Oaks For Curlin Filly

The ability to overcome adversity and will to win were on full display in Saturday’s nine-furlong Grade 2, $150,000 Demoiselle for juvenile fillies at Aqueduct in Ozone Park, N.Y., when Shadwell Stable’s Malathaat overcame unfavorable circumstances with a furious rally to make the grade in her third career start.

Breaking from the rail under Hall of Famer John Velazquez, Malathaat appeared to be uncomfortable taking some kickback when in behind horses, but allowed her class to prevail with a five-wide move around the turn as she collared Millefeuille in the final strides.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said he was impressed with the winning effort.

“She had to overcome a lot. I was proud of her for persevering,” Pletcher said. “When she got in the clear, she put in a strong run. It was an impressive performance considering all the adversity along the road.”

In winning the Demoiselle, Malathaat earned 10 qualifying points toward the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, scheduled for April 30, 2021, at Churchill Downs. Pletcher said he would like to give her two starts prior to the Oaks, which he won with Ashado (2004), Rags to Riches (2007) and Princess of Sylmar (2013).

Pletcher said the Curlin bay would ship to his winter division at Palm Beach Downs in South Florida this week

“She’ll ship to Palm Beach Downs early this week and we’ll give her an easy month. I don’t know what her next target will be, we’ll just see how she’s doing,” Pletcher said. “Ideally, we would be looking at two races prior to the Kentucky Oaks if everything goes according to plan.”

Unbeaten in three starts, Malathaat gave Velazquez his 2,000th victory at Belmont Park with a 1 ¾-length win in a seven-furlong maiden special weight on October 9 at Belmont Park. She mirrored her winning ways into stakes company when leading at every point of call to take the one-mile Tempted on November 6 at Aqueduct. The Demoiselle was her first start going two turns.

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

Her triumph in the Demoiselle made her a third generation graded stakes winner. Her maternal granddam Dream Rush was a four-time graded stakes winner, including the Grade 1 Test in 2007 at Saratoga.

“She’s shown that she’s special from very early on,” Pletcher said. “It’s very hard to win three consecutive races and she’s done it at three different distances now at Belmont, and over a sloppy track at Aqueduct. I’m not sure that she really relished the going but she still was able to keep finding a little more and I was proud of the effort.”

Pletcher also sent out Known Agenda for the Grade 2 Remsen, where he finished a distant third to Brooklyn Strong.

Like Malathaat, Remsen third-place finisher Known Agenda also appeared to not handle the sloppy going on Saturday, where he picked up two Kentucky Derby qualifying points.

Pletcher said he was still pleased with the effort from the Curlin chestnut out of Grade 1-winner Byrama. Owned by Vincent Viola’s St. Elias Stable, Known Agenda notched a second out maiden triumph at the Remsen’s nine-furlong distance on November 8 at the Big A.

“He was never comfortable and finally when he got out late in the clear he found some ground. His last quarter was pretty much the same time as the previous two, it’s just at the quarter pole he was in a hopeless position,” Pletcher said. “Part of it is immaturity, greenness and not relishing the sloppy conditions. I still think he’s a horse with some upside. He’s still putting it together. I think a race like that and the experience he gained hopefully will move him forward, so we’ll take him down to Florida as well. We’ll target some of these Derby preps. There are a lot of good options. We’ll play it by ear.”

Shadwell Stable’s Mutasaabeq graduated in August at 5 ½ furlongs ahead of a third in the seven-furlong Grade 1 Hopeful, both on the Saratoga main track. The Into Mischief bay made his last two starts on the Keeneland turf, winning the Grade 2 Bourbon on October 4 and a last out 10th in the Grade 1 Breeders’ cup Juvenile Turf.

Pletcher said Mutasaabeq could go back to the main track for the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man on January 2 at Gulfstream Park.

“We’re thinking about the Mucho Macho Man with him and give him another try on the dirt,” Pletcher said. “He’s been training pretty well on the dirt, so we’ll explore that. We can always go back to the turf if we need to.

“We were very fortunate to be able to train for them. It’s a tremendous organization,” Pletcher added regarding Shadwell Stable. “It’s been an honor and a pleasure and it’s nice to have some good horses for them. We’ve been fortunate to win three graded stakes so far this year with them.”

Repole Stable, St. Elias Stable and Stonestreet Stables’ Likeable, 13th in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last out, and worked a half-mile in 51.40 on November 25 at Palm Beach Downs.

“We have a lot of options for him, including an allowance race. We’ll get him started around the first of January. We’ll see what the new condition book at Gulfstream has to offer,” Pletcher said.

Published at Sun, 06 Dec 2020 21:20:20 +0000

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