SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.— Shadwell Stable’s champion Malathaat was doing well the morning after ending the first losing streak of her career with a dramatic come-from-behind victory in Saturday’s Grade 1, $600,000 Personal Ensign at Saratoga.
Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher was pleased with how the 4-year-old daughter of two-time Horse of the Year and 2014 Hall of Famer Curlin emerged from her fourth career Grade 1 triumph exiting back-to-back losses for the first time.
“She looked great this morning,” Pletcher said. “We’re very proud of her effort. It was a good bounce-back race. She had been training like she was going to run well. We’re delighted with the way she did it and happy with the way she came out of it.”
The Personal Ensign’s field of five, all millionaires, had combined to win 45 races, 13 Grade 1 races and $9.286 million in purse earnings, and featured another Eclipse Award winner in Letruska, the Champion Older Mare of 2021.
Malathaat was sent off as the fourth choice in the wagering behind 8-5 favorite Clairiere, who beat Malathaat in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps and Grade 2 Shuvee, the latter July 24 at Saratoga, heading into the Personal Ensign.
“We had a lot of confidence in her, we always have,” Pletcher said. “It was great to see her run to her capabilities. It was a star-studded race, for sure, and to be able to beat those kinds of fillies was very exciting.”
Pletcher said Malathaat may use the Grade 1 Spinster October 9 as a prep on the way to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff November 5, both at Keeneland. Last year, Malathaat did not race between her victory in the Grade 1 Alabama at the Spa and a third-place finish by a half-length in the Distaff.
“She’s had success at Keeneland before so I think that’s probably where we’ll end up in the Spinster,” Pletcher said. “Last year, we kind of trained up to the Breeders’ Cup from the Alabama [but] I think she might benefit from a start this year.”
Waterford Stable’s Winters Back breezed five furlongs in 1:00.91 over the Oklahoma turf course Sunday ahead of a possible return to the races in the Grade 2, $200,000 Bernard Baruch September 5 at Saratoga.
It was the 10th work at Saratoga and fifth on the grass since June 2 for Winters Back, whose time was the fastest of 12 horses at the distance.
Winters Back has not run since finishing seventh in the Grade 1 United Nations last July. The 5-year-old son of Summer Front is seeking his first stakes victory, having been second in the Grade 3 Monmouth and fourth in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf in 2021, beat 1 1/2 lengths each time.
“He’s under consideration for the Bernard Baruch,” Pletcher said. “He hasn’t run in a while, so we’ll see how the field is shaping up.”
NYRA Press Office
Photo: Malathaat wins the Grade 1 Personal Ensign (Chris Rahayel)