Malathaat Seeks Redemption In Saratoga Alabama


SARATOGA SPRINGS – Todd Pletcher was back at work on Friday. A doctor’s clearance allowed him to return to his second summer home on the back stretch of Saratoga after a bout with COVID-19.

Pletcher, 54, who is vaccinated, was diagnosed last week.

He talked a bit about his illness – he’s feeling great – but wanted to talk more about his horses, especially the brilliant 3-year-old filly Malathaat, who is the morning favorite for Saturday’s first year, $ 600,000 in Alabama. at the Saratoga Racecourse.

Malathaat came to Saratoga for the summer with a brilliant CV and a load of expectations. She took a hit in the Coaching Club American Oaks on July 24 when she was unexpectedly beaten in the four-horse field in Saratoga’s biggest competition shake so far this summer.

Malathaat will seek to make amends on Saturday.

Six other rivals line up against her in the 1 1/4 mile Alabama. This is the first time that one of them has tried at this distance.

Pletcher loved her star filly after she lost by a header to Maracuja as the CCA Oaks 1-5 seed. It was his first loss after five impressive starts, including one in the prestigious Kentucky Oaks, run the day before the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Maracuja was 14-1, the CCA Oaks’ longest shot, and she will be in the Alabama starting grid.

Is Alabama the Start of the Redemption Tour for Malathaat? You bet.

“I think at this level you have something to prove every time you go there,” Pletcher said Friday morning, wearing a mask. “You’re only as good as your last race. No matter what your job looks like, everyone is sort of watching the last one. Does she need to win? In my opinion, they all need to. to win.”

Malathaat, owned by Shadwell Stable, had won two Grade I races to start the year in the Ashland at Keeneland and then in the Kentucky Oaks. Neither race was a leak as it won the Ashland with a header and the Oaks with a neck. She did what she had to do in both races and moved on.

Now, with a less certain air of invincibility, Malathaat will once again have to show class. Pletcher is convinced she can do it.

“I think she’s a top talent and hopefully she can prove it,” he said.

Malathaat is a Curlin Double Horse of the Year Girl, and Pletcher and Rick Nichols, Shadwell’s general manager, say she should be able to handle Alabama’s distance.

“Even though she was beaten the last time around, she never had a bad run,” Nichols said. “She doesn’t know she was beaten.”

In the CCA Oaks, Malathaat never rested as rivals Maracuja and Clairiere – who is also in Alabama – made him work for every second of the 1 1/8 mile run. And she almost won it anyway. Maracuja’s victory came after she was seventh in the Kentucky Oaks, beaten to 7 1/2 lengths by Malathaat.

“She ran hard (in the CCA Oaks) and she fought everyone on the court at least once,” Pletcher said. “Since the (Kentucky Oaks) layoff and the one hole (post) and the pressure all the way, I thought she ran bravely. I look forward to that.”

The same goes for Maracuja’s coach Rob Atras, who is hoping for another upheaval. Maracuja’s morning odds for Alabama are 6-1, the same as Crazy Beautiful, Clairiere and Army Wife.

“You always hope for the best,” Atras said. “Our goal has always been to target the Coaching Club and Alabama, so it’s good that things are falling into place.”

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