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OZONE PARK, NY – Despite looking lost in the far turn, Shadwell Stable’s Malathaat proved to be much the best as she powered her way to victory in Saturday’s $150,000 Demoiselle Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct.
Malathaat was sent from the rail as the 2/5 heavy favorite under John Velazquez and took a ground-saving trip through the clubhouse turn and down the backstretch.
Traffic Lane set the early tempo and posted opening fractions of :23.69 and :48.50 before Millefeuille ranged up to take command midway through the far turn.
Still struggling to make up any ground while behind and inside of her rivals, Malathaat responded alertly as Velazquez tipped her out near the top of the stretch and into a clear, three-wide position.
Rallying hard in the stretch, Malathaat swept past Millefeuille in the final jumps to win by 3/4 of a length. The Todd Pletcher trainee completed the 1 1/8-mile sloppy main track route in 1:52.36.
“Her class was what kept her going and got here there on time,” Velazquez said. “She was never comfortable and not running into a spot I wanted. She never really put that much effort into keeping a spot. Finally, when I tipped her out heading to the 1/4-pole, she started running. When I got her out, she put her ears up. Little by little, when she got to the other horses, she started going.”
Millefeuille was 4 1/2 lengths clear of Malibu Curl, while Cafe Society was another length back in fourth. Traffic Lane and an always-trailing Celestial Cheetah completed the order of finish.
Caramocha and Dollar Mountain were scratched from the race restricted to juvenile fillies.
The Demoiselle is part of the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. Malathaat earned 10 points for the win, with Millefeuille receiving 4 for second, Malibu Curl 2 for third, and Cafe Society 1 for fourth.
Malathaat’s win was her third from as many starts following a maiden-breaking score at Belmont Park on debut and the local Tempted Stakes last time out. The Curlin filly, purchased for $1.05 million as a yearling, has now earned $172,150.
“She wasn’t comfortable inside,” Pletcher said. “I think she was unsure of the footing early on. In her first 2 starts, she had easy trips without much dirt in her face. I was worried at multiple points of the race. Sometimes drawing the rail is great, and this time, it seemed to have backfired on us a couple of times. In the final 1/8 of a mile, she was able to get into her comfort zone and rhythm, and that’s when she showed what she’s all about”
Malathaat returned $2.90 to win, $2.40 to place, and $2.10 to show. Millefeuille brought back $2.90 to place and $2.30 to show, while Malibu Curl paid $3.20 to show.
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