Nest readies for G1 CCA Oaks; Corniche to make 3-year-old debut with new trainer
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Shadwell Stable’s Malathaat, with Hall of Famer John Velazquez up, breezed a half-mile in 49.22 seconds in company over Saratoga’s main track Sunday morning as she looks to get back to winning ways in the Grade 2, $200,000 Shuvee, a nine-furlong contest for older fillies and mares on July 24 at Saratoga Race Course.
The 2021 Kentucky Oaks winner and reigning Champion 3-Year-Old Filly has never lost consecutive races and hopes to keep it that way entering the Shuvee. Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher said adding blinkers to his filly may be the key to getting back to form.
“She seems a little more locked in and a little more concentrated. She’s trained great up to this race and we’re looking forward to seeing how she adapts to the equipment change,” said Pletcher.
The 4-year-old daughter of Curlin lost her Saratoga debut last summer in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks before turning it around one month later to capture the Grade 1 Alabama.
Last out, she became a multi-millionaire when she finished second to familiar foe Clairiere in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps on June 11 at Belmont, one start after she captured her 4-year-old debut in Keeneland’s Grade 3 Doubledogdare in April.
Repole Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Michael House’s Nest is preparing for a rematch against Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath next week in the nine-furlong Grade 1, $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks.
Pletcher said the Kentucky Oaks and Grade 1 Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets runner-up has settled into her first Saratoga summer exceptionally well.
“She’s really come out of the Belmont in good order and I’m very happy with the way she’s coming into this,” said Pletcher, “I thought she got over the track really well and seemed to take to it. It’s not been an issue for her – she’s kind of one that doesn’t need a certain type of surface and I’m not surprised that she’s settled in well here.”
The 3-year-old daughter of Curlin, who has never finished off-the-board in 7 career starts, breezed five-eighths in 1:01.44 on Saratoga’s main track in company with 2021 Champion 2-Year-Old Corniche as a final prep for the CCA Oaks.
Owned bySpeedway Stables, Corniche is getting set for a return to the track under the care of a new trainer. The $1,500,000 purchase out of the 2021 OBS Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training is expected to run at Saratoga and had his first breeze over Saratoga’s main track when he went in company with Nest.
Pletcher said Corniche is possible for a start in the Grade 2, $200,000 Amsterdam sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs on July 31.
“We’re considering the Amsterdam, which interestingly enough was the first race for Quality Road when we had him,” said Pletcher of his alumnus and sire of Corniche. “You can see a lot of Quality Road in him, and he’s put in some good work. If things go well next week, that’s probably where we will end up.”
Corniche, who went 3-for-3 as a juvenile, capped his perfect campaign with a score in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar, finishing 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Pappacap, who he will likely face again in the Amsterdam.
With Corniche just getting started in his sophomore campaign, graded stakes-winner Charge It stands as the leader of Pletcher’s dirt sophomores and will be the one to represent his conditioner in the Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers on August 27 after Grade 1 Belmont Stakes winner Mo Donegal was forced to miss the rest of the year due to bone bruising.
A homebred for Whisper Hill Farm, Charge It was a stunning winner of the Grade 3 Dwyer on July 2 in his first start since a distant off-the-board finish in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 7. He took the one-mile test for sophomores by 23 lengths to score the first graded stakes win of his career.
Pletcher said Charge It will not start in the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy on July 30 and will train up to the “Mid-Summer Derby.”
“[The Dwyer] was very impressive and we’ve decided we are just going to train up to the Travers,” said Pletcher. “He’ll probably get on the work tab next week and we look forward to seeing him continue to develop. I think he’s starting to put it all together now.”
Pletcher provided an update on Spendthrift Farm homebred Following Sea, who was last seen finishing a close second to stablemate Americanrevolution in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap presented by NYRA Bets in November at Aqueduct Racetrack.
“He’s back in training at my dad’s training facility in Ocala and hopefully we’ll see him this fall,” Pletcher said.
NYRA Press Office
Main Photo Malathaat after training at Belmont. (Susie Raisher)