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SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Shadwell Stable’s heavy 1/2 favorite Malathaat‘s tremendous class advantage helped her overcome a poor break and prevail victoriously in Saturday’s $600,000 Alabama Stakes (G1) at Saratoga.
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Malathaat stumbled as she broke from post 6 under John Velazquez and settled near the rear in the field of seven 3-year-old fillies.
Played Hard posted tepid opening fractions of :23.97, :49.12, and 1:13.27 before Army Wife overtook her in the far turn and straightened for home on the lead.
Malathaat tipped out wide near the top of the stretch and grinded her way up to take command near the 1/8 pole and drew away to win the 1 1/4-mile good dirt route by 1 1/2 lengths in 2:02.59.
“I was thinking that (Clairiere) was coming from way back and I was expecting that,” Velazquez said. “She was not close to the pace, so in the back of my head, I was thinking that’s a horse who can come back, so you have to watch out for it.”
Clairiere rallied to edge Army Wife for second by a 1/2-length, while Will’s Secret faded to fourth after stalking the early pace.
Played Hard, Crazy Beautiful, and Maracuja completed the order of finish.
Malathaat’s win was a return to form after suffering her first career defeat (finishing second) in the local 1 1/8-mile CCA Oaks (G1) to Maracuja. The 3-year-old Curlin filly, purchased for $1.05 million as a yearling, has now earned $1,555,150.
“Last time, it was difficult to figure out the right tactics and we kind of got tag teamed, as you’d expect to be in a prohibitive-favorite situation,” said Pletcher, who picked up a third Alabama victory. “Today, we drew a better post and we were able to let her find her rhythm and she showed why she’s the best 3-year-old filly in the country.”
Malathaat returned $3.10 to win, $2.50 to place, and $2.10 to show. Clairiere brought back $5.30 to place and $3.60 to show. Army Wife paid $3.90 to show.
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