That was Trainer Todd Pletcher’s comprehensive answer when asked about Malathaat’s condition the morning after her brave run-and-neck win on Saturday at Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.
With a national television audience, Curlin’s well-done daughter overcame her early troubles, took driver John Velazquez’s advice at all points, and then digged deep for a photo finish and $ 713,000 at the 147th Run for the Lilies » to win.
The Miss from Shadwell Stable is now a perfect 5v5 in her brief racing career. She has three tiered bets on her ledger and is well on her way to reaching millionaire status ($ 953,000) with a very bright future ahead of her.
The conditioner wasn’t sure yet what the shipping plans were for his 3 year old filly. He said the outcome of Saturday’s events (read Kentucky Derby) for his four-star stallions would have a huge impact on who, where, and when would be on their strong line.
« You want to think with a filly like (Malathaat) that you can think of Breeders’ Cup (at Del Mar in November), » said Pletcher. « But we still have a long way to go before we get there. »
SEARCH RESULTS – Trainer Chad Brown said Klaravich Stables search results were a tired filly on Sunday morning but no worse for the wear and tear after a heart-wrenching and ultra-playful second through a neck in the Oaks.
« We checked her out this morning and she looks fine, » said Brown. “She got back safely and will be going back to New York on Monday. Right now we’re looking at the (Grade 1) Acorn and Coaching Club American Oaks. These are the two most likely things we’ll be discussing, ”said Brown.
In the search results, her unbeaten streak ended at three but lost none of its defeat as she battled the undefeated Malathaat on the track. The daughter of Flatter, under Irad Ortiz Jr., pursued the early front runner and the second choice 3-way travel column, made the first run from the other corner and refused to give in to the winner.
« It was a huge race, » said Brown. “I’ve seen the replay a few times and thought Irad had good judgment. It was exactly how it turned out, it was parked a bit and I would have preferred if we were right next to the travel column and saved a bit more ground on both corners – it might have helped save a bit of fuel . However, the winner was a little late and had to be used. She followed me just as far so that she obviously won fairly and honestly. »
Brown also quickly applauded Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, who gave the winner a flawless ride while also showing a bit of game art.
« It was typical Johnny fashion, » said Brown. “He rode so smartly to follow us and then swam us inside, which is his patented stride. It was a smart move. And it was a winning move. She just had a little more and she is a really good horse. »
Brown leaned back in his office chair in Barn 25 and looked back on the past 10 to 12 days, summarizing the trial while admitting that the end result could have been right in front of everyone all along.
« Ultimately, as I learned at the Oaks and the Derby, there is a big increase and these races are fun to analyze, » said Brown. “Then mix in that this is one of the few events where the media actually watches these horses train every day. And there are a lot of different scenarios and projected steps and journeys and opinions and it’s great. But at the end of the day, often in those big races, if you look at them the next day, it wasn’t too difficult to figure out: the two undefeated fillies hit the trail and that was probably the way it should be. »
On the prospect of facing Malathaat again, Brown acted a little more stoically while realizing that both fillies could take a different path this summer, with Saratoga’s 1 1/8 mile coaching club and 1 1/4 mile -Alabama the calendar.
« I think I would be foolish to say that I’m looking forward to running against them, » joked Brown. « I don’t know if you ever want to run against great horses, especially if you have one of your own. I read this stuff sometimes and I’m not one of those brave guys who say, » I’m looking forward to a rematch. « I appreciate that Sport and looking forward to the challenges but I have a really good horse and there are races for all of us. And if you look at Malathaat and the schedule for the future, it looks like she won’t have any problems beyond that ( Distance), like in Alabama. I don’t really see this in our filly’s future. When we walked in we thought 1 1/8 miles would be fine for our filly and if you take out the winner she was clear from the others However, I don’t know if the search results will be a mile and a half, so at this point they might split up. The mile and an eighth race, but I wouldn’t hesitate to put them in a race hear what I thought was right no matter who ran, and I say that with the greatest respect for others. »
WILL’S SECRET – Trainer Dallas Stewart described his feelings for third place in Will’s Secret at the Kentucky Oaks on Friday as simply « proud ».
Stewart reported that he and owner Willis Horton will be looking for more races for the 3 year old filly.
CLAIRIERE / PAULINE’S PEARL – The two homebreds from Stonestreet Stables, Clairiere and Pauline’s Pearl, who were fourth and eighth respectively, came out of the Oaks in good condition and are briefly refreshed, according to trainer Steve Asmussen’s assistant Scott Blasi.
TRAVEL COLUMN / COACH – Trainer Brad Cox reported that his two Kentucky Oaks contestants, Travel Column and Coach, had finished the 1 1/8 mile race in good shape.
Travel Column dueled at the top until it faded in the middle of the course, while Coach finished an enigmatic ninth place.
Travel Column « relaxed well in the front end but didn’t have the final push to continue. I’m still not sure what happened to Coach, but we’ll regroup and look for more options. «
MILLEFEUILLE – Coach Bill Mott said Juddmontes Millefeuille was okay on Saturday morning, the day after finishing sixth at the Oaks after a long journey through the 1 1/8 mile Test.
« There will be a race for them, » said Mott. “The first two (Malathaat and search results) were clearly the best yesterday. She can perhaps rival those with a good trip. »
The day wasn’t a total loss for Mott Barn as Obligatory, who served as Millefeuille’s workmate before the Oaks, won the Eight Belles (GII) with a last-to-first run. « We thought Obligatory was as good as the other. »
MARACUJA – Beach Haven Thoroughbreds’ Maracuja left seventh place in the Oaks in good shape and will be watching some Class 1 races in Saratoga later this summer, according to trainer Rob Atras.
« She cooled off really well and last night she was fine and relaxed when we went out and ate too, » said Atras. « We’ll be going back to Belmont and regrouping a little. We’d like to see races like the American Oaks coaching club and Alabama in Saratoga. »
Maracuja was Atras’ first starter at the Oaks, and while she was perhaps 37-1 on the tote board, the Honor Code daughter did well on her first start outside Aqueduct.
« She went well, I can’t beat her at all, » said Atras. “We were happy to be here, but we also wanted to do well and I think she did. She broke a little slowly and that cost her a tactical position. I really think that in the Oaks and Derby, after you’ve seen her, you have to have a horse with tactical speed, and she doesn’t quite have that like these top filly foals. But she is still learning and developing and I really think she has a bright future. »
CRAZY BEAUTIFUL – Crazy Beautiful from Phoenix Thoroughbred LTD received a superficial incision on her left foreleg during Friday’s Oaks in which she finished 10th.
« She’ll be fine. It won’t affect her, » said Greg Geier, assistant to trainer Kenny McPeek. The team will regroup and figure out where the filly and King Fury, a scratch from the derby on Friday, are after he has increased the temperature, go to the next race.
MORAZ – Empire Maker’s dark daughter checked back on Barn 37 late Saturday afternoon. The filly was almost a mile in second place in the 1 1/8 mile headliner, but could not keep up his offer under driver Flavien Prat.
« She did it well, » said assistant coach Justin Curran. « She ate last night and is fine this morning. »
« She will be returning to (Southern) California (McCarthy’s base) at some point, but I’m not exactly sure when, » said Curran.
PASS THE CHAMPAGNE – Pass the Champagne emerged in good condition from her 12th place in the Kentucky Oaks and was hand guided through the barn on Saturday morning by her trainer George Weaver.
« She’s good, » said Weaver. « We’ll bring them home and make the next racing plans from there. »
COMPETITION SPEED – John Minchello’s competitive speed is set to return to her home base in Gulfstream Park on Sunday after leaving the Oaks in good shape for coach Javier Gonzalez.
No specific race has been targeted for a return to races, according to Gonzalez.
« The result wasn’t what I wanted, but it was a good experience, » said Gonzalez. « I’m always learning, so let’s see what happens next time. »
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