The majestic MALATHAAT can score her third Grade 1 victory in a row, and sixth straight victory overall, in Saturday's $500K Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) at Saratoga.
The Kentucky Oaks heroine has not run since Derby Weekend, now more than two months back, but has been training consistently for Todd Pletcher. She hasn't missed a week of training, and recently delivered a sharp 4F workout, on July 17th at Saratoga, going :48 flat as the 5th fastest of 139 workouts at that distance.
The Coaching Club American Oaks is a one mile and one-eighth run over the dirt, for three-year-old fillies only, as a non-Lasix race. At this time, MALATHAAT has not had a start with Lasix.
There are just four horses competing, and MALATHAAT breaks from the rail. Here's a look at the field:
Race 5, The $500K Coaching Club American Oaks (G1).
Post Time 3:23 PM ET.
Question for the reader: do you believe the ol' Saratoga saying, The Graveyard of Favorites? The House of Upsets?
If so, you've got quite the task to take down MALATHAAT at 2-5. This daughter of CURLIN is just bulldozing through her division. She's quite the equine-athlete to watch. Coming to the final turn she could sometimes look as if she's struggling to keep up, but when they straighten for the stretch, this filly hunts her rivals down!
She's 2-for-2 at this distance. It'll be interesting to see if there's a change of tactics for this race, due to breaking from the rail. She's the one the beat, she should be able to call on some early speed. On paper, she's quicker than the fillies to her outside. MALATHAAT could also find trouble getting boxed in along the rail, if jockey Luis Saez on ROCKPAPERSCISSORS takes the lead and gets cozy.
Note that MALATHAAT has, in fact, won from the front end in her second career start back in November 2020. And who better than Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez would you want for getting a frontrunner to relax? Hardly anyone.
The filly who could play the spoiler role is CLAIRIERE from the four hole at odds of 9-5. She is trained by Steve Asmussen, who is closing in on Dale Baird's all-time win-record of 9,445 wins. What a story it would be if Asmussen surpassed the record with a victory from CLAIRIERE!
On paper, CLAIRIERE can not only run with MALATHAAT, but on average has produced faster figures. She, too, is a daughter of CURLIN, and exits a third-place effort in the Mother Goose Stakes (G2) but stumbled at the break that day, and raced five-wide with her run. She still achieved a new, top Late-speed figure off that effort. With a cleaner trip, and with Irad Ortiz Jr. back on board, she is dangerous.
MARACUJA at 6-1 breaks from post position two for trainer Rob Atras. This filly has improved her figures with every start. Perhaps the smaller field size suits her style, as she can be in closer contention than she was in the Kentucky Oaks. Ricardo Santana Jr. will pilot her for the first time. ROCKPAPERSCISSORS for trainer Rodolphe Brisset is 15-1 on the morning-line, breaking from post position three. She won her last race by almost ten lengths, and it was her first start off an eighth-month layoff, and she did it against three-year-olds and upward. But we can't get carried away—it was an Allowance spot, she was running with Lasix, which she will be without here, and she is trampolining up in class for this spot. Then again, this is the Spa, isn't it? It's conceivable jockey Luis Saez seizes the lead and lulls them to sleep—you never know!