Malathaat makes stylish return in Baird Doubledogdare 

April 22, 2022

A champ returns a winner at Keeneland

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Shadwell Stable’s Malathaat, the champion 3-year-old filly of 2021, made a stylish return to the races by posting a three-quarters of a length victory over Bonny South in the 27th running of the $300,000 Baird Doubledogdare (G3) for fillies and mares on a sun-splashed Friday afternoon. 

Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez, Malathaat completed the mile and a sixteenth over a fast main track in 1:44.58. 

It is the fifth time Pletcher and Velazquez have teamed to win this race. Their other victories came with Colony Band (2005), Pool Land (2006), Embur’s Song (2011) and Unbridled Mo (2017). Velazquez also won the 2015 Doubledogdare aboard Deceptive Vision. 

Lady Mystify outgunned Super Quick for the early lead while Malathaat was guided off the rail from post one to the four path for clear racing room. 

Lady Mystify opened a 3-length lead and led the field through fractions of :23.74 and :46.89 with Super Quick maintaining a 6-length advantage over Malathaat and Crazy Beautiful, who raced a joint third in the run down the backstretch. 

On the far turn, Malathaat began to close in on the leaders with a three-wide move. At the top of the stretch, Velazquez had clear sailing and roared past Lady Mystify at the eighth pole and had enough to hold off Bonny South. 

Sold for $1.05 million at Keeneland’s 2019 September Yearling Sale, Malathaat is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Curlin out of the A.P. Indy mare Dreaming of Julia. Winner of the Central Bank Ashland (G1) here last spring in her other Keeneland start, Malathaat improved her record to 9-7-1-1 and boosted her earnings to $1,918,825 with the addition of Friday’s $183,675 check. 

Malathaat returned $2.60, $2.10 and $2.10. Bonny South, ridden by Florent Geroux, returned $2.80 and $2.20 and finished a length in front of Super Quick and Lady Mystify, who finished in a dead heat for third and returned $3.20 and $2.60, respectively. 

It was another 2½ lengths back to Audrey’s Time in fifth with Crazy Beautiful following in sixth. 

Racing continues Saturday with a 10-race program beginning at 1 p.m. ET and featuring two graded stakes: the $300,000 Ben Ali (G3) for 4-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles on the main track and the $350,000 Elkhorn (G2) for 4-year-olds and up going 1½ miles on the grass. The races are the eighth and ninth, respectively, on the program with 4:44 p.m. and 5:16 p.m. post times. 

Malathaat with her connections, jockey John Velazquez, trainer Todd Pletcher, Shadwell Farm represented by Greg Clarke and a lot of other people! (Coady Photography)

Quotes from the $300,000 Baird Doubledogdare (G3)
John Velazquez (winning rider of Malathaat)
“I didn’t want to be way too far back. (Trainer) Todd (Pletcher) told me to watch it because she’s a little laid back, so I made sure I kept her attention. We got to the backstretch and I kind of let her do her thing, getting her mind on her business, but by the time we got to the three-eighths pole, I’m like, ‘Man, now I’m too soon.’ I got her out a little too quick. Down the lane I went to make her switch her lead and she got lost looking for the field. Then the other horse (Bonny South) got to her and she went on again, so it was very nice. We know when she gets to the lead she starts waiting, so it was a good comeback for her.”

Todd Pletcher (winning trainer) On how he chose to begin Malathaat’s 2022 campaign in the Baird Doubledogdare
“It was really about timing and seeing when she was getting ready. She got some time off at Shadwell after the Breeders’ Cup and they did a great job with her – she came in looking super. So we targeted this (race) and we felt like if we ran out of time we had a backup plan in the (May 6) La Troienne (G1) at Churchill. But she was ready. We didn’t want to overdo it for her first start of the year, and we had it in the back of our minds not only that she won the Ashland here, but (this year’s) Breeders’ Cup is here as well.”

On Malathaat being well back down the backstretch
“I wasn’t too nervous but I knew one thing (jockey) Johnny (Velazquez) and I talked about was to be careful if he made the lead because she will idle a little bit. He thought he was a little too far back and then all of a sudden he got there, maybe a little sooner than he expected, but she was all class in the end.”

Florent Geroux (rider of runner-up Bonny South)
“There was a very strong pace in front of me. I tried to follow Malathaat in the turn and I almost ran her down, but she was very brave and kept fighting. She didn’t want to let me put my head in front. I’m looking forward to the rest of the year with her (Bonny South). I liked her chances, to be honest.  When there’s a good pace in front of her she’s won some really good races. She ran a great race today and I was expecting her to run that big.”

Brad Cox (trainer of Bonny South)
“That was a big effort; she ran well. Very happy with her effort. This will set her up for, hopefully, a big year. And, hopefully, a Grade 1 because she has knocked on the door so many times that we feel like we have to win one. This was a good run off the (five-month) layoff and something we can build off of.”
Cox said Bonny South could make her next start in the Ogden Phipps (G1) at Belmont Park on June 11.

Joe Talamo (rider of Super Quick, who finished in a dead heat for third with Lady Mystify)
“We had a beautiful trip. Normally my filly is in front, but the outside (horse, Lady Mystify) had a little bit more speed. I loved the way she settled right off the lead there. She gave me a lot going down the lane there. The fillies that ran 1-2 are two of the top fillies in the country so nothing wrong with running third there. With that new dimension of her kind of sitting off (the pace), I think that’s going to be really good moving forward.”

Keeneland Press Release
Photo: An airborne Malathaat (outside, blue cap, white blaze) surges from 4th to victory under John Velazquez. (Coady Photography

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