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LOUISVILLE, KY – Shadwell Stable’s marvelous Malathaat overtook Search Results in mid-stretch and kept that game rival at bay to win Friday’s $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs.
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Malathaat got bumped several times from either side after she broke from post 10 under John Velazquez as the 5/2 favorite and eventually settled three-wide in fourth heading into the clubhouse turn.
Travel Column set the pace as expected, posting opening fractions of :23.60, :47.47, and 1:11.31 while Moraz and Search Results (under Irad Ortiz Jr.) gave closest watch.
Velazquez sent Malathaat four-wide through the far turn and allowed her to begin picking off rivals one by one until she straightened for home with new leader Search Results in her sights.
Ranging up to challenge for the lead in mid-stretch, the Todd Pletcher-trained Malathaat overpowered Search Results and kept her buried on the rail until crossing a neck clear, stopping the clock at 1:48.99 for the 1 1/8-mile fast dirt route.
“She didn’t get away the best, but I got a spot with her,” Velazquez said. “She was running well and when I turned for home, I had a target to send her after. We got up next to her and my filly went by. Then she waited a bit; she does that. The other filly came back, but I could tell I was still in control. I never thought I was going to do anything but win.”
Malathaat’s win meant that Search Results, similarly undefeated heading into the Kentucky Oaks, suffered her first loss, but trainer Chad Brown remained hig-spirited after the race.
“I’m so proud of the filly and the way she ran,” Brown said. “She put it all out there on the track for us and you can’t ask for anything more than that. She ran her eyeballs out, she really did. She battled all the way to the end and we got beat by a really good filly. She delivered and hopefully we’ll get one of these one day.”
Some 2 3/4 lengths behind the top pair, Will’s Secret edged out Clairiere for third by a nose. Travel Column continued to give way in the stretch before finishing fifth.
“Travel Column was on the lead and didn’t kick on down the lane like we were hoping for,” said trainer Brad Cox. “The fractions were reasonable but had no punch turning for home.”
Millefeuille, Maracuja, Pauline’s Pearl, Coach, Crazy Beautiful, Moraz, Pass the Champagne, and Competitive Speed completed the order of finish.
Ava’s Grace scratched.
Malathaat’s win was her fifth from as many starts, including stakes scores in the Tempted and the Demoiselle (G2) at Aqueduct last year and the Ashland (G1) at Keeneland 4 weeks ago. Malathaat is a daughter of Curlin out of the A.P. Indy mare Dreaming of Julia (fourth as the 3/2 favorite in the 2013 Kentucky Oaks) who was purchased for $1.05 million as a yearling and who’s now earned $1,125,150.
“She got away from there just a bit slow, but Johnny moved her up and got her in a much better position,” Pletcher said. “He had to lose some ground and go wide to do it, but it was the right thing to do. She wants a target to run at and she got one here. Delighted with the outcome.”
Malathaat returned $7 to win, $4.60 to place, and $3.40 to show. Search Results brought back $6.80 to place and $5.60 to show. Will’s Secret paid $9.60 to show.
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