Shadwell Stable's MALATHAAT put on an impressive performance on Saturday's $600K Alabama Stakes (G1), rating off the pace before swinging into action in the stretch and powering past rivals to cross the wire first.
It was a redeeming performance from her last effort, where she ran second to MARACUJA.
Sent off at odds of $0.55-to-win, and ridden by jockey John Velazquez, MALATHAAT was not off to a great start; she stumbled leaving the gate and immediately found herself next to last, while pacesetter PLAYED HARD secured the lead and pushed the opening quarters in 23.97 and 49.12.
"With the exception of the stumble at the start, I felt pretty good the whole way." winning trainer Todd Pletcher said.
"She recovered and got into a good position. She was in the clear. The thing we wanted today was to allow her to run her race and get into that big stride she has and a comfortable rhythm and keep coming. She got back close enough [after the stumble], maybe it would have improved one position or so, but ultimately it was where we wanted her to be." (Paulick Report)
It was a comfortable pace, however MALATHAAT required some urging to hold her position. But when they turned for home, MALATHAAT left no doubt as to whether she'd fire today. She swung wide into the clear, and charged past her rivals, leaving ARMY WIFE and CLAIRIERE in her wake. CLAIRERE ran well to get up for second, ARMY WIFE finished third. The final time for the ten furlongs was 2:02.50.
MALATHAAT paid $3.10 to win, $2.50 to place, and $2.10 to show. She is by CURLIN out of DREAMING OF JULIA by A.P. INDY. She improves her record to 6 wins from 7 starts, pushes her earnings to $1,555,150, and ties her career best ESF rating of 107.
"I was thinking that Irad's horse [Clairiere] was coming from way back and I was expecting that. She was not close to the pace, so in the back of my head, I was thinking that's a horse who can come back, so you have to watch out for it," jockey John Velazquez told the NYRA Press Office.
"Last time, there was no speed at all. So, we made a decision to go to the first turn and if she was on the lead, then she was on the lead. She was on the lead and everybody chased us. Today, it was easier. The speed showed up. I saved the ground in the first turn. I didn't chase. I knew I was comfortable where I was and she did it for me."
Source: Equibase, Jennifer Kelly, Paulick Report