undefeated Malathaat has demonstrated class and determination through five wins
in as many lifetime starts and will vie to keep her perfect ways afloat in
Saturday’s 105th running of the Grade 1, $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks
going nine furlongs for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga Race Course.
The Coaching Club
American Oaks was named in honor of a club formed in 1875 for which a
membership requirement was to be able to navigate a coach and four horses with
a single group of reins. Inaugurated in 1917, the historic event often attracts
the winner of the Kentucky Oaks and has seen 14 fillies sweep the Kentucky
Oaks-CCA Oaks double, including Hall of Famers Princess Doreen , Dark
Mirage , Davona Dale , Bold ‘n Determined , and Open Mind
Multiple fillies have
used the CCA Oaks as a steppingstone to Champion 3-Year-Old Filly honors,
including Ruffian , Wayward Lass , Mom’s Command , Ajina
, Ashado , Smuggler , and Questing . Three of the last
five winners of the CCA Oaks have notched such honors with Songbird ,
Abel Tasman , and Monomoy Girl .
Two-time Grade 1-winner Malathaat arrives at the
CCA Oaks off a hard-fought triumph in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on April 30 at
Churchill Downs, where she engaged in a stretch duel with graded stakes winner
Search Results and won by a neck, garnering a career-best 95 Beyer Speed
The Kentucky Oaks
triumph came after a successful sophomore bow in the Grade 1 Ashland on April 3
at Keeneland where she tracked leisurely fractions and closed in on Pass the
Champagne in the final half-furlong to win by a head.
During her juvenile
campaign, Malathaat notched stakes triumphs at Aqueduct in the Tempted and
Grade 2 Demoiselle after giving Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez his 2,000th
Belmont Park victory in October.
Hall of Fame trainer
Todd Pletcher will look to extend his seven-win record in the prestigious race
when he saddles Malathaat. A victory would give Pletcher a third CCA Oaks
triumph with a Kentucky Oaks winner, having sent out Ashado and Princess of
“She’s a very gifted
filly,” Pletcher said. “She’s just been perfect so far and she’s a pleasure to
train, and just does everything right. When you have one that’s undefeated you
just want to keep that intact and hope that everything goes smoothly and that
she’s able to show her capabilities once more.”
Malathaat could also
provide her multiple champion-producing sire Curlin his third CCA Oaks winner
after Curalina , also trained by Pletcher, and last year’s winner Paris
Bred in Kentucky by
Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, Malathaat is the first offspring out of the
A.P. Indy broodmare Dreaming of Julia, who captured the 2012 Grade 1 Frizette
and the 2013 Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks for Pletcher.
“She’s a bigger physical
than Dreaming of Julia and maybe Dreaming of Julia was a tad quicker than she
is,” Pletcher said. “But she’s just so efficient and has a long stride and it
seems like she’s bred to get better now. She’s growing into that big frame.
She’s fun to have in the barn and I’m looking forward to get her going again.”
Malathaat was initially
campaigned for an earlier return to action.
“We did miss a little
time with her and she was a little bit sore, so we took it easy with her,” said
Shadwell Stable’s vice president and general manager Rick Nichols. “Todd had
her training real well into the Ashland. I loved the way that she fought in the
Oaks. She just has so much class and determination.”
Malathaat has settled
into her surroundings at Saratoga and recently breezed a half-mile in 48.05
seconds on July 17 over the main track in company with Grade 2 Mother
“She’s doing great and
seems to be loving Saratoga,” Nichols said. “The main thing about her is early
on, she had such an effortless gallop. She covers the ground so easily. It
doesn’t look like she has to work hard at all.”
Pletcher said he is
grateful for his relationship with Shadwell, for whom he also has campaigned
recent graded stakes winner Mutasaabeq.
“We’ve been blessed to
have received some of their horses and have built some good relationships so
far,” Pletcher said. “To have [graded stakes winners] Mutasaabeq and Zaajel and
Malathaat, we’re off to a good start and happy to be part of the team.”
Malathaat for $1.05 million from the Denali Stud consignment at the 2019
Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
founder Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al Maktoum passed in March, and Nichols said
Malathaat could dawn a new era for the prestigious racing and breeding
“Physically, she’s about
as perfect as you can get,” Nichols said. “She just looked like a horse that
would have a lot of class. She had a very attractive head, beautiful balance,
and her limbs were good. As soon as I saw her at the sale, I knew Sheikh Hamdan
would love her. Malathaat could be the foundation mare of the next generation
for his family.”
Velazquez, who has
guided Malathaat to three of her five wins, retains the mount from post 1. A
five-time winner of the CCA Oaks, Velazquez seeks to become the standalone
winningest jockey in the race’s history.
Two Kentucky Oaks
participants face Malathaat once more, including Beach Haven Thoroughbreds’
Maracuja, who was seventh in the Kentucky Oaks.
The Rob Atras-trained
daughter of third crop sire Honor Code broke a touch slow in the Oaks, but made
up considerable ground to run seventh.
“In the Oaks, she broke
a little flat footed, but we’re hoping she breaks sharper and won’t be too far
back in a shorter field,” Atras said. “She was down on the inside and going
into the first turn she got shuffled back. She made a good run late and I was happy
with the performance. She just needs to break sharper and get in a more
Prior to the Kentucky
Oaks, Maracuja was a third-out maiden special weight victress going 6 ½
furlongs over the Aqueduct main track en route to a runner-up finish in the
Grade 3 Gazelle on April 3 at the Big A.
“She came back really
well, and we skipped the Acorn and were targeting the Mother Goose but she
wasn’t quite right,” Atras said.” She’s doing well right now. She bounced out
of it well. We worked her three times and I’m hoping she’s good enough to run a
Jockey Ricardo Santana,
Jr. will guide Maracuja from post 2.
Clairiere, fourth in the Kentucky Oaks, arrives off a close third to Zaajel in
the Grade 2 Mother Goose for Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen.
The bay daughter of
Curlin attempts a second graded stakes victory after notching her seasonal
debut in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra on February 13 at Fair Grounds Race
Course over Travel Column. Clairiere was second to Travel Column in the next
out Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks.
A Kentucky homebred,
Clairiere is the first offspring out of the three-time Grade 1-winning
Bernardini mare Cavorting, who earned over $2 million through a lifetime record
Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr.
earned his first Grade 1 victory when guiding Questing to victory in the 2012
CCA Oaks and will ride Clairiere from post 4.
Completing the field is
allowance winner Rockpaperscissors for WinStar Stablemates Racing, who swept
the exacta in last year’s CCA Oaks with Paris Lights and Crystal Ball.
Trained by Rodolphe
Brisset, the daughter of Distorted Humor broke her maiden at a one-turn mile in
September at Churchill Downs and did not race again until June 21, where she
defeated older allowance company at Indiana Grand Race Course by 9 ¾ lengths.
Breaking from post 3,
Rockpaperscissors will be ridden by Luis Saez.
The Coaching Club
American Oaks is slated as Race 5 on Saturday’s 11-race card, which also
features the Grade 3, $200,000 Caress. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern. Saratoga
Live will present daily television coverage of the 40-day summer meet on
FOX Sports. For the complete Saratoga Live broadcast schedule, and
additional programming information, visit https://www.nyra.com/saratoga/racing/tv-schedule.
NYRA Bets is the
official wagering platform of Saratoga Race Course, and the best way to bet
every race of the 40-day summer meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the
NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.