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SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – The Alabama Stakes (G1) on August 21 could be next for the 1-2 finishers from last Saturday’s Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) Maracuja and Malathaat, their connections told NYRA media officials.
Under a heady ride from Ricardo Santana Jr., Maracuja improved upon her last-out seventh behind Malathaat in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) and pulled the 14/1 upset for trainer Rob Atras, who said that a return in Saratoga’s signature event for 3-year-old fillies is in play.
“If she continues to come out of the race good, then I definitely would like to consider that race,” Atras said. “She ate everything up and cooled out good after the race and she was good this morning. It’s always a concern when they put in a big effort like that, but so far, we look good.”
Malathaat suffered her first defeat in 6 starts Saturday but earned a higher TimeForm US speed rating (116) than Maracuja (114) due to her gutsy front-running effort that saw her receive outside pressure from start to finish.
Maracuja Nips Malathaat To Upset CCA Oaks
“Hounded is an accurate description,” said trainer Todd Pletcher. “We had a difficult time analyzing the race beforehand and how we thought it might unfold. There wasn’t a lot of speed on paper and we were in the 1 post with a target on our backs, so our strategy was to let her run away from the gate and try to establish a position into the first turn, or if someone was to clear us, hopefully move out into the clear. … She kind of had to fight off the whole field. When you’re a heavy favorite in a race like that with a short field, those things can happen. I’m not disappointed with the filly at all. I thought she ran bravely considering everything that was thrown at her off the layoff. If she comes back well, we’ll point towards the Alabama.”
Also expected to enter the Alabama is multiple Grade 2 champion Crazy Beautiful, who was pointing toward the Saratoga Oaks (G3) on turf August 8 until she didn’t work as well as trainer Kenny McPeek had hoped.
“I’m leaning against it today, but I have a couple weeks,” McPeek said of running in the Saratoga Oaks. “They are inviting her, but we need to make sure she’s on tilt before committing to anything. I thought she’d work better than she did yesterday. I want to give her a few days. She will be nominated to the Alabama, but I just need to make sure she’s 110%.”
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