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Ashland Preview: Malathaat Returns
Malathaat winning the Demoiselle (Credit: NYRA)

Ashland Preview: Malathaat Returns

LEXINGTON, KY – Shadwell Stable’s undefeated Malathaat makes her long-awaited return to the races in Saturday’s $400,000 Central Bank Ashland Stakes (G1) at Keeneland.

The Ashland is a 1 1/16-mile dirt route restricted to 3-year-old fillies that offers 100-40-20-10 Kentucky Oaks (G1) points to the top four finishers. This year’s edition is the ninth event on an 11-race card that includes the Blue Grass, a Kentucky Derby (G1) prep race, and has a local post time of 5:30 PM.

Here’s a look at the full field for the Ashland:

1. Curlin’s Catch 8/1 – She won 2 straight on dirt to start her 2021 campaign, including a 4 1/2-length triumph in the Suncoast Stakes, but was fifth in the Davona Dale Stakes (G2) last time out. The runner-up of that won last weekend’s Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) and unites for the first time with jockey Chris Landeros, who wins at a 21% rate with a positive ROI when riding for the Mark Casse barn.

2. Pass the Champagne 4/1 – She takes a major step up in class after breaking her maiden by 2 1/2 lengths in a 7-furlong Gulfstream Park dirt sprint. Not only is this her first time facing winners, but also her first try going two turns, but at least she’s bred to handle the added distance. Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano shows confidence picking up the mount for the first time.

3. Simply Ravishing 5/2 – She won 3 straight to start her career, including the Alcibiades Stakes (G1) over this course and distance, before finishing a close fourth in the Breeers’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). Off since finishing fourth in last November’s Golden Rod Stakes (G2), she worked frequently with stablemate Crazy Beautiful leading up to that one’s Gulfstream Park Oaks romp last weekend.

“It will be good to get her going,” trainer Kenny McPeek said. “Simply Ravishing is extremely talented and she won the Alcibiades, so it just seemed logical to run her back in the Ashland.”

Watch the latest episode of Dr. Miranda Previews for Dr. Miranda’s BEST BETS in this race!

4. Moon Swag 10/1 – She won 2 straight at Albuquerque Downs to start her career before transferring to the Brendan Walsh barn and running in 3 Fair Grounds stakes. Her best finish in any of those was third while never crossing closer than 4 lengths behind the winner and will likely go off at double-digit odds for the fourth straight start. Adam Beschizza rides for the third straight start.

5. Malathaat 9/5 – The $1 million yearling certainly looked the part last year when she won all 3 appearances, including last December’s 1 1/8-mile Demoiselle Stakes (G2) in her first try routing. Trainer Todd Pletcher called her his best 2-year-old before her debut and has put her through several weeks’ worth of works in order to get her fit. He historically wins 19% with runners returning after similar layoffs.

6. Will’s Secret 7/2 – She rides a 3-race win streak that includes the Martha Washington Stakes and the Honeybee Stakes (G3), both at Oaklawn Park. It’s interesting that she shows up here, rather than staying there for Saturday’s Fantasy Stakes (G3) that offers a larger purse and the same amount of Oaks points, but she’s already in the Oaks gate based on points. Trainer Dallas Stewart won this in 2019.

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