Malagacy ‘Rises’ to the Occasion in Rebel


Malagacy | Coady

“TDN Rising Star” Malagacy (Shackleford) took his record to a perfect three-for-three and earned 50 points towards a spot in the GI Kentucky Derby starting gate with a decisive two-length victory in Oaklawn’s GII Rebel S. Saturday. Sent off as the 3-1 second-choice behind highly regarded Bob Baffert pupil American Anthem (Bodemeister), the Sumaya US Stables colorbearer was away in good order and glided up to stalk fellow “TDN Rising Star” Uncontested (Tiz Wonderful) from second, running off the rail through early fractions of :23.03 and :47.04. Closing in on the leader as three-quarters went up in 1:11.35, the Todd Pletcher pupil was three wide turning for home and forged to the lead at the top of the stretch with Untrapped (Trappe Shot) ranging up on his outside and Sonneteer (Midnight Lute) and Petrov (Flatter) sliding into contention on the rail. Drifting way out to the center of the track in mid-stretch, Malagacy shifted all the way back in late, but was always running strongly and charged home a determined winner. Maiden and 112-1 shot Sonneteer out-nosed Untrapped for second, who in turn finished a nose ahead of Petrov. The 8-5 favorite American Anthem failed to fire, racing in mid-pack early before fading to finish 10th out of 11; while pacesetting Uncontested tired to eighth.

“He showed today that he can definitely go around two turns and I am very proud of him,” remarked Pletcher, who took home his first ever Rebel trophy Saturday. “He showed good tactical speed yet he rated very kindly, which we thought he would do. We were trying a new distance and he was stepping up in class against some nice, seasoned horses so I was very, very pleased with and proud of his effort.”

As for Malagacy’s next start, Pletcher said, “The [GI] Arkansas Derby [Apr. 15] timing wise would be good, and getting a mile-and-an-eighth race under his belt would also be beneficial. That would be Plan A, but in this business we all know that sometimes you have to call some audibles. Right now that’s what the thinking is.”

Baffert’s chief assistant Jimmy Barnes was a bit stumped by favored American Anthem’s poor performance, saying, “I don’t know [what happened]. The horse, he just struggled. He didn’t break as sharp as I thought he would. Had a lot of speed in the race, also. [Jockey] Mikey [Smith] just said he struggled a bit with the track. Regroup and head back to California and keep searching for a [Kentucky] Derby horse.”

Bloodstock agent Steve Young signed the $190,000 ticket on Malagacy on behalf of Sumaya U.S. principal Oussama Aboughazale, who recently purchased a farm in Kentucky, at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale after the colt breezed in :10 2/5. The chestnut earned his “Rising Star” nod with a 15-length demolition of his 5 1/2-furlong unveiling in the slop at Gulfstream Jan. 4. He immediately made good on that promising debut with a seven-length romp in a first-level allowance going one furlong further in Hallandale Feb. 12.

Click here to read more on Aboughazale’s shopping spree at Keeneland January, where he was leading buyer; and here to read about his Fasig-Tipton February purchases, which included the $700,000 topper.

Pedigree Note:

The winner’s unraced dam Classiest Gem was purchased for just $17,000 at the 2014 Keeneland November sale carrying a full-sister to Malagacy, the now 2-year-old Classy Shackles. The 17-year-old mare is also responsible for a yearling gelding by Revolutionary and was given the year off after producing that foal on Apr. 24. The half-sister to Canadian champion Impossible Time (Not Impossible {Ire}) was recently bred to Distorted Humor. Malagacy is from the first crop of 2011 GI Preakness S. hero Shackleford and is his second graded winner, following 2016 GIII Arlington Washington Futurity winner and fellow “TDN Rising Star” Wellabled.

Saturday, Oaklawn Park
REBEL S.-GII, $900,000, OP, 3-18, 3yo, 1 1/16m, 1:43.00, ft.
1–#@MALAGACY, 115, c, 3, by Shackleford
1st Dam: Classiest Gem, by Dehere
2nd Dam: Classiest Carat, by Pleasant Colony
3rd Dam: Halo Dancer, by Halo
TDN Rising Star ($45,000 Wlg ’14 KEENOV; $130,000 Ylg ’15
OBSAUG; $190,000 2yo ’16 EASMAY). O-Sumaya U.S. Stable;
B-John Trumbulovic (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher; J-Javier
Castellano. $540,000. Lifetime Record: 3-3-0-0, $586,800.
Werk Nick Rating: B.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.2–Sonneteer, 116, c, 3, Midnight Lute–Ours, by Half Ours.
O-Calumet Farm; B-Calumet Farm (KY); T-J. Keith Desormeaux.
$180,000.3–Untrapped, 115, c, 3, Trappe Shot–Exit Three, by Giant’s
Causeway. ($97,000 Ylg ’15 KEEJAN; $150,000 Ylg ’15 KEESEP;
$125,000 2yo ’16 OBSAPR). O-Michael Langford; B-Indian
Creek & Jonathan Sheppard (KY); T-Steven M. Asmussen.
$90,000.Margins: 2, NO, NO. Odds: 3.30, 112.30, 8.80.
Also Ran: Petrov, Silver Dust, Lookin At Lee, Appalachian Gem, Uncontested, Royal Mo, American Anthem, Silver Bullion.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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