Malathaat Back on Top in Star-Studded Personal Ensign

Malathaat | Sarah Andrew

Shadwell Stable's 'TDN Rising Star' Malathaat (Curlin) had settled for second to re-opposing Clairiere (Curlin) in both the GI Ogden Phipps S. downstate June 11 and local GII Shuvee S. July 24, but she got rolling in the Saratoga stretch Saturday to blow past the talented tandem of Search Results (Flatter) and Letruska (Super Saver) and post a half-length victory over the former in the GI Personal Ensign S. Clairiere, the 8-5 favorite, acted up in the gate then lagged far back while seemingly not herself.

Having bested Search Results by a neck in last year's GI Longines Kentucky Oaks, Malathaat–a $1,050,000 KEESEP yearling–was narrowly upset in her next start, the track-and-trip GI Coaching Club American Oaks that July. She atoned a month later when defeating Clairiere in the GI Alabama S., and was a close third (a head better than Clairiere) in November's GI Breeders' Cup Distaff at Del Mar, which featured a meltdown pace that did in champion older mare Letruska.

Crowned champion 3-year-old filly at the Eclipse Awards, Malathaat resurfaced to take Keeneland's GIII Doubledogdare S. Apr. 22 before her back-to-back rematches with fellow Stonestreet-bred Clairiere.

Let go as the 16-5 fourth choice in this field of five, Malathaat had only Clairiere beat early as Letruska showed the way with Search Results prompting through sensible splits. Malathaat snuck up the fence under Hall of Famer John Velazquez to take over third from Crazy Beautiful (Liam's Map) down the backside, but seemed out-footed slightly by the top two as they entered the stretch. Velazquez steered Malathaat out into the clear as Search Results headed Letruska, and the hulking Malathaat built up a full head of steam by midstretch to reel in Search Results like she had in last year's Oaks.

“It was very, very nice to see her come back to prove how good a horse she really is,” said Velazquez, who on Thursday became the first rider to reach 1,000 Saratoga wins. “We know she's a good horse. It's hard to tell why she was so dull last time. But today, I just made sure that she was in the game and she showed it. When I pulled her out at the three-sixteenths pole and asked her, she was in the game… Riding good horses is what keeps you coming back. I'm blessed to have this opportunity and to still be doing this.”

Pletcher, who was celebrating his third Personal Ensign victory, said, “It's all about seeing her perform to her capabilities and with all due respect to the rest of the field, we always feel like when she shows up and runs her A-race, that she's the top 4-year-old filly in the country and I think she showed that today.

“I was glad that Search Results was at least keeping some pace but one of my concerns going in was the potential to not be a good pace set up and we've added the blinkers (before the Shuvee) more to keep her more focused than to add more speed and just let her run her race. I thought Johnny rode a super race.”

As for Clairiere's head-scratching performance, jockey Joel Rosario said, “She broke well and then they were kind of getting away from me. She took a long time today to find her stride. She was still coming in the end. She was acting with a little energy [in the gate] and sometimes those things happen. She jumped up a couple times but she was OK. It was not her day, I guess.”

Saturday, Saratoga
PERSONAL ENSIGN S.-GI, $558,000, Saratoga, 8-27, 4yo/up, f/m, 1 1/8m, 1:48.30, ft.
1–MALATHAAT, 124, f, 4, by Curlin
                1st Dam: Dreaming of Julia (GISW, $874,500), by A.P. Indy
                2nd Dam: Dream Rush, by Wild Rush
                3rd Dam: Turbo Dream, by Unbridled
($1,050,000 Ylg '19 KEESEP). O-Shadwell Stable; B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher; J-John R. Velazquez. $320,000. Lifetime Record: Ch. 3-year-old filly,12-8-3-1, $2,378,825. Werk Nick Rating: A+++. *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree or free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Search Results, 122, f, 4, by Flatter
                1st Dam: Co Cola (GSP), by Candy Ride (Arg)
                2nd Dam: Yong Musician, by Yonaguska
                3rd Dam: Alljazz, by Stop the Music
($310,000 Ylg '19 KEESEP). O-Klaravich Stables, Inc.; B-Machmer Hall (KY); T-Chad C. Brown. $112,000.
3–Letruska, 124, m, 6, by Super Saver
                1st Dam: Magic Appeal (GSP), by Successful Appeal
                2nd Dam: Call Her Magic, by Caller I. D.
                3rd Dam: Malibu Magic, by Encino
O/B-St. George Stables, LLC (KY); T-Fausto Gutierrez. $60,000.
Margins: HF, 2, 6. Odds: 3.20, 3.10, 2.40.
Also Ran: Crazy Beautiful, Clairiere.
Click for the chart or the PPs  &ref=9104432. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

Pedigree Notes:

Malathaat is one of 90 stakes winner and 48 graded winners for her sire, who was represented earlier on the card by new Grade I winner Cody's Wish in the Forego S. She is bred identically to stablemate Nest (Curlin), who looks a lock to provide her sire and trainer with a second consecutive champion 3-year-old filly trophy.

Malathaat was the most expensive yearling filly by Curlin in 2019 (co-fifth among both sexes), and the market certainly hasn't cooled off on the Hill 'n' Dale resident since then. A $600,000 Curlin colt topped the Fasig-Tipton July sale, and he had three fetch seven figures earlier this month across the street, including a $2-million filly bred on the same cross. Curlin's next two highest sellers at that Fasig auction were out of daughters by A.P. Indy sons.

Malathaat's dam annexed the 2012 GI Frizette S. and earned a gaudy 114 Beyer when airing by 21 3/4 lengths in the 2013 GII Gulfstream Park Oaks. The daughter of MGISW Dream Rush has a 2-year-old full-sister named Julia Shining who last breezed up in Saratoga last Friday. Next in the pipeline is a Medaglia d'Oro filly, followed by another Curlin filly foaled Apr. 4. Dreaming of Julia was bred to Into Mischief for 2023.

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