Saratoga Race Course Notes

August 22, 2021

Malathaat likely to train up to G1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff

Midnight Bourbon breezes for G1 Runhappy Travers

Technical Analysis targets G1 QE II after G2 Lake Placid coup

Inside trip hampered Maracuja in G1 Alabama; Sadie Lady to freshen up for fall campaign

Drain the Clock readies for rematch against Jackie Warrior’s and talented field in G1 H. Allen Jerkens on Runhappy Travers Day

Fast Boat to ship to Kentucky Downs

All-graded stakes Cross Country Pick 5 nets total pool of $230K; pays $2,116

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Shadwell Stable’s Malathaat reasserted her dominance in the 3-year-old filly division with a powerful score in Saturday’s Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama for Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher.

The regally bred daughter of Curlin earned a 95 Beyer Speed Figure for her third Grade 1 win, where she made a quick recovery after stumbling at the start, to settle three lengths off the pace in fifth down the backstretch. Malathaat made a sweeping four wide move in upper stretch to win by 1 ½ lengths under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez.

Malathaat arrived at the Alabama after suffering her first defeat in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks on July 24, where she set the pace in a compact field and was ultimately collared by Maracuja, who finished last of seven in the Alabama.

“It was good to get back and get a reasonably good trip despite stumbling at the start,” Pletcher said. “It was a very, very strong performance. She looks good this morning.”

Malathaat won the Grade 2 Demoiselle on December 5 over a sloppy and sealed track at Aqueduct, making up considerable ground with little effort to win by three-quarters of a length.

Following a four-month layoff, Malathaat returned to capture the Grade 1 Ashland on April 3 at Keeneland en route to a Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks score four weeks later at Churchill Downs.

“She looked like she was hopelessly beaten and then ends up winning by daylight,” Pletcher recalled of the Demoiselle. “We were excited about stretching her out to a mile and a quarter and she handled it as well as we hoped that she would.”

With a trio of Grade 1 wins under her belt during a prosperous 2021 campaign, Malathaat is the current frontrunner for Eclipse Award honors for Champion 3-Year-Old Filly.

Recent Alabama winners to secure Champion 3-Year-Old Filly honors include, Blind Luck [2010], Royal Delta [2011], Questing [2012], Songbird [2016] and Swiss Skydiver [2020].

Pletcher said Malathaat will likely train up to the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff on November 6 at Del Mar.

“Right now, we’re focused on the Distaff, so we’ll zero in on that and take things from there. That’s the most likely scenario,” Pletcher said. “Nothing’s etched in stone, but that’s sort of the plan that we discussed with Rick Nichols [of Shadwell] a while ago.”

Pletcher previously secured Alabama triumphs with Princess of Sylmar [2013] and Stopchargingmaria [2014], the latter of whom captured the following year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, Malathaat is the second progeny out of the Grade 1-winning A.P. Indy mare Dreaming of Julia. She was bought for $1.05 million at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Pletcher has found recent success with first time starting juveniles, saddling WinStar Farm and Siena Farm’s Major General and Robert and Lawanna Low’s My Prankster to impressive maiden scores on Saturday at the Spa.

Major General, a son of third-crop sire Constitution, led at every point of call in the 6 ½-furlong maiden tilt, and shook off a stretch confrontation from third-time starter Bourbon Heist to win by a neck under leading rider Luis Saez. Major General registered a 77 Beyer for the debut win.

“Major General was a little bit green yesterday,” Pletcher said. When that horse came to him, he looked him in the eye and found some horse, so we’re happy to see that.”

Six races later, My Prankster displayed stalking tactics down the backstretch along the rail before taking command from the outside around the far turn and romped home a 10-length winner under Saez. The son of leading sire Into Mischief garnered a 92 Beyer.

“He was very impressive, I thought he kicked on well down the lane and had something left in the tank, so it was very encouraging,” Pletcher said.

Pletcher did not have any plans for a next start for either horse.

“We’ll let the dust settle and see how it goes,” Pletcher said.

Bred in Kentucky by Circular Road Breeders, Major General is the first offspring out of the unraced Uncle Mo mare No Mo Lemons. He was bought for $420,000 from the Woods Edge Farm consignment at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

My Prankster, bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, was a $600,000 acquisition at the Fasig-Tipton Select Yearling Sale, where he was consigned by Summerfield. His is out of the Flower Alley mare My Wandy’s Girl who was a Group 1 winner in South America before scoring graded stakes black type in the United States.

***

Midnight Bourbon breezes for G1 Runhappy Travers

Winchell Thoroughbred’s Midnight Bourbon, trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, worked a half-mile in 49.60 Sunday on the Oklahoma training track in preparation for Saturday’s Grade 1, $1.25 million Runhappy Travers.

Asmussen said the graded stakes-winning sophomore son of Tiznow has worked well after a troubled trip last out in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational, where he was a close third in mid-stretch before clipping heels and falling, unseating rider Paco Lopez.

“He’s a very impressive horse,” Asmussen said. “I think we’re obviously very fortunate that he came out of the mishap in the Haskell in good shape and he’s training well, per usual.”

Midnight Bourbon, a winner of the Grade 3 Lecomte at Fair Grounds Race Course in his 2021 debut, was second in the Grade 1 Preakness at Pimlico to Rombauer prior to the Haskell.

Asmussen and Winchell finished third twice in the Travers with Pyro [2008] and Gun Runner [2016].

Also breezing on Sunday for Asmussen was five-time graded stakes winning millionaire Jackie’s Warrior, who went a half-mile in 48.98 seconds in preparation for the Grade 1, $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial on the Runhappy Travers Day undercard.

William and Corrine Heiligbrodt’s dual graded stakes winner Yaupon went a half-mile in 50.50 seconds over the Oklahoma training track. The 4-year-old son of Uncle Mo is targeting the Grade 1, $600,000 Forego.

Asmussen was pleased with a solid runner-up finish from Stonestreet Stables’ Clairiere in the Grade 1 Alabama. The winner of the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra in February at Fair Grounds closed late under Irad Ortiz, Jr. to finish second, 1 ½ lengths in arrears to Malathaat. Asmussen said no plans have been made for the daughter of Curlin’s next start.

“She came out of it in good shape,” Asmussen said. “There’s a lot going on between now and what’s next for her.”

***

Technical Analysis targets G1 QE II after G2 Lake Placid coup

After notching back-to-back graded stakes victories, trainer Chad Brown said Klaravich Stables’ Technical Analysis, winner of Saturday’s Grade 2 Lake Placid at the Spa, will likely take things up a notch and point to the Grade 1, $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on October 15 at Keeneland.

The Irish-bred daughter of Kingman handled a minor stretch out in distance well in the 1 1/16-mile Lake Placid, contested over a yielding inner turf, kicking clear down the lane to win by 3 ½ lengths while garnering a career-best 92 Beyer. In her prior start, she won the Grade 3 Lake George at one mile, where she bested stablemate Fluffy Socks by 1 ¼ lengths.

While previously apprehensive of stretching Technical Analysis too far out in distance, Brown said he has noticed considerable improvement which is prompting him to try the nine-furlong Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.

“The QE II is probably the main target for her,” said Brown, who won the Queen Elizabeth II with Dayatthespa [2012], Rushing Fall [2018] and Cambier Parc [2019]. “After the race yesterday, she’s really shown improvement, so I’m going to try stretching her out again.”

Boasting a consistent 6-4-0-1 record, Technical Analysis has banked $298,200 in earnings. She was selected out of the 2019 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale for just over $250,000.

***

Inside trip hampered Maracuja in G1 Alabama; Sadie Lady to freshen up for fall campaign

Beach Haven Thoroughbreds, Medallion Racing, Parkland Thoroughbreds and Barry Fowler’s Maracuja stutter-stepped at the start of Saturday’s Grade 1 Alabama and endured a difficult inside trip over a good and harrowed track en route to finishing seventh.

The Honor Code bay, who upset the previously undefeated Malathaat in the Grade 1 CCA Oaks in her prior start under a brilliant ride by Ricardo Santana, Jr., was hemmed in by that rival in the Alabama before coming up empty in the stretch run.

“She got pinned down on the inside, taking dirt. It was kind of a rough trip,” trainer Rob Atras said. “Ricardo tried to get her outside a couple times and wasn’t able to.

“I think if we’d got a good outside trip, she’d probably have run a lot better, but Ricardo said she struggled the whole way around,” he added. “I don’t want to make any excuses. That’s racing. She came out of it good.”

The Canadian-born conditioner is enjoying a formidable summer campaign at the Spa with a record of 33-10-4-0, highlighted by his first Grade 1 win last month.

Atras said he’ll consider a number of options for his star filly’s next start.

“I think the filly is a little better off with five or six weeks between races,” Atras said. “We’ll see. I won’t make plans for another week or so after we see how she comes out of it.”

Atras said Dennis Narlinger’s graded-stakes placed Sadie Lady will enjoy a freshening following her fourth-place finish in the Union Avenue on August 19 at the Spa.

“Last year, around this time of year, she just wasn’t the same kind of horse,” Atras said. “We’ll send her down to Florida for 30-60 days and freshen her up and bring her back in the fall.”

The 5-year-old Freud mare won 4-of-7 starts last season and added to her ledger this year with stakes scores in the six-furlong Correction in March at the Big A against open company and the Dancin Renee for state-breds in June at Belmont. Bred in the Empire State by JMJ Racing Stables, Sadie Lady was a game second in the 6 1/2-furlong Grade 3 Vagrancy in May at Belmont Park.

***

Drain the Clock readies for rematch against Jackie Warrior’s and talented field in G1 H. Allen Jerkens on Runhappy Travers Day

Drain the Clock, the winner of the Grade 1 Woody Stephens and the last-out runner-up in the Grade 2 Amsterdam, recorded his final work on Saturday ahead of the Grade 1, $600,000 H. Allen Jerkens on Runhappy Travers Day on August 28.

The Maclean’s Music colt registered a four-furlong breeze in 47:47 seconds in company with 2020 Grade 1 Haskell runner-up Ny Traffic over the Saratoga main for trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr.

Owned by Slam Dunk Racing, Madaket Stables, Wonder Stables and Michael Nentwig, Drain the Clock finished second behind top divisional contender Jackie’s Warrior in the 6 1/2-furlong Amsterdam on a sloppy and sealed track August 1.

The ultra-consistent Drain the Clock enters the seven-furlong H. Allen Jerkens with momentum, posting four wins and a pair of second-place finishes through the first six starts of his 3-year-old campaign. He won the Grade 3 Swale, contested at the Jerkens distance, by 6 1/4 lengths in January at Gulfstream Park and tallied consecutive wins on the NYRA circuit with a 1 3/4-length victory in the Grade 3 Bay Shore in April at Aqueduct Racetrack before edging Jackie’s Warrior by a neck in the seven-furlong Woody Stephens on Belmont Stakes Day June 5.

“He had a good work going in company with Ny Traffic and galloped out pretty strong,” Joseph, Jr. said. “Obviously, last time he was well-beaten fair and square by Jackie’s Warrior. Now, you have Life Is Good in this race, so, hopefully we can get outside this time. I think the draw will have a lot to do with it. But we’re willing to give it another chance.”

Joseph, Jr. also saw two contenders for the Grade 1, $600,000 Forego work Saturday at Saratoga, with Chance It and Mischevious Alex logging four furlongs in 48.12 and 48.48, respectively, on the main track.

The Forego, for 4-year-olds and up sprinting seven furlongs, will give four-time graded stakes-winner Mischevious Alex a chance to add to that total, with the Into Mischief colt posting wins in last year’s Grade 3 Swale and Grade 3 Gotham as a sophomore before continuing to improve as a 4-year-old, winning the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint in February and romping by 5 1/2 lengths in the Grade 1 Carter in April at the Big A.

After running third in the Grade 1 Hill ‘N’ Dale Metropolitan Handicap on Belmont Stakes Day, Mischevious Alex [owned by Cash is King and LC Racing] ran eighth in the six-furlong Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt on July 31 at Saratoga. Joseph, Jr. said his charge has continued to work well as he readies to stretch back out to seven furlongs next week.

Shooting Star Thoroughbreds’ Chance It, second last out in the Grade 3 Smile Sprint going six furlongs on July 3 at Gulfstream, has compiled a 4-4-0 record in nine starts entering his Saratoga debut. The 4-year-old son of Currency Swap is looking for his first graded stakes victory.

“They worked by themselves and they seem to be coming into the race in good order,” Joseph, Jr. said.

***

Fast Boat to ship to Kentucky Downs

Three years ago when trainer Joe Sharp came to Saratoga, he finished the meet with eight winners from 29 starters, which was his best performance since bringing horses to the Spa in 2015. Heading into Sunday’s card, Sharp is not that far from reaching that mark, boasting a record of 22-6-0-1 with purse earnings of $329,361.

“It has been a great meet,” he said. “Obviously, we had some good racing luck with the right kind of horses. We have been fortunate to get some good racing luck and getting everything lined up.”

Two of his winners were for owner Brad Grady led by Grade 3 Troy-winner Fast Boat and maiden-winner Flint Ridge.

Fast Boat, a 6-year-old gelding, came off the pace with jockey Tyler Gaffalione to catch longshot Carotari near the finish to win his second graded stakes race in the Troy. Sharp said the firm Saratoga course benefitted Fast Boat, who couldn’t make as powerful of a run when he finished sixth in the Grade 1 Jackpocket Jaipur at Belmont over a good turf course.

“Tyler rode him great,” Sharp said. “The biggest thing that seems to help him is the firm turf course. It was very firm that day. His turn-of-foot is much more significant. If you look at the Jaipur, we got so much rain the night before. Johnny [Velazquez] said he was closing into it, but he didn’t have that explosiveness when he couldn’t get hold of the ground.”

Sharp said Fast Boat is currently back at his farm in Kentucky before going back into training for a stakes race at Kentucky Downs, then onward to the Breeders’ Cup.

“He doing great,” he said. “He came home a couple of days after that race. We do that after all of his races. We turn him out for about a week to 10 days. He likes it with the small paddock.”

Flint Ridge, a 3-year-old son of Into Mischief purchased for $320,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale, rebounded from a disappointing debut at Churchill Downs with two-length maiden win after engaging in a pace battle while wearing blinkers for the first time on August 14.

Dylan Davis engineered the winning trip in the 6 1/2-furlong main-track event for 3-year-olds and up.

“We were high on him for the first time out,” Sharp said “He had been training well at Keeneland and shipped over the Churchill Downs on the day of the race. I think it took him by surprise a little bit. The gates opened and he got out-footed. We were very disappointed.

“When he got up here, his works were on point,” he added. “I was really impressed with that race. That was a tough trip. I was happy to see Dylan get him in the race with the blinkers. To take pressure from both sides and still be able to fight on at the end, that was definitely impressive.”

Sharp indicated that he plans to bring Flint Ridge back to Kentucky for the fall.

Another maiden winner from Sharp’s barn was Lady Danae, who came off the pace over the turf course to win her first start by two lengths with Luis Saez aboard on August 13. While Sharp trained her mostly on the dirt, Saez believed the 2-year-old was a possible turf horse.

“At Keeneland, she was working really fast on the dirt,” Sharp said. “When we got up here, the track was a lot deeper. Luis Saez had worked her a couple of times in the morning and he said it twice, ‘I really like her, but I think she’s turf.’ That was as impressive as it was with a first-outer that I’ve had from a horse.”

Just like with Fast Boat, Sharp indicated that Lady Danae is also being pointed for a stakes race at Kentucky Downs. He also added that Classic Lynne will pass on Friday’s Seeking The Ante for another maiden race.

***

All-graded stakes Cross Country Pick 5 nets total pool of $230K; pays $2,116

Saturday’s all-graded stakes Cross Country Pick 5, featuring three Grade 1s and a pair of Grade 2 contests spread between Saratoga and Del Mar, paid $2,116.75 for selecting all five winners for the 50-cent wager. The total pool was $230,194.

Saratoga hosted the first two legs of the sequence, starting with Technical Analysis capturing the Grade 2, $200,000 Lake Placid for 3-year-old fillies in Race 9. The even-money favorite, trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Jose Ortiz, bested Runaway Rumour by 3 1/2 lengths in the 1 1/16-mile Mellon turf course, completing the course in 1:46.49. Technical Analysis paid $4.20 on a $2 win wager.

In the next race, Malathaat won as the odds-on favorite, winning for the sixth time in seven career starts by posting a 1 1/2-length score in the Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama for sophomore fillies contesting 1 1/4 miles on the main track. Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, Malathaat ran second in her previous race, finishing a head back to Maracuja in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks in July at the Spa. Teamed again with Hall of Famer John Velazquez, Malathaat [$3.10] turned the tables on her rival, posting a final time of 2:02.59 in outkicking Clairiere. Maracuja finished last-of-seven.

Evening racing at California’s Del Mar concluded the Cross Country Pick 5, starting with Going Global’s one-length win in the Grade 1, $300,000 Del Mar Oaks for sophomore fillies competing at 1 1/18 miles on the turf in Race 9. The Philip D’Amato trainee gave the sequence its third consecutive favorite to earn a winner’s circle trip, as Going Global, under jockey Flavien Prat, topped Closing Remarks, hitting the wire in 1:48.91. Going Global paid $4.80.

Tripoli was the first non-favorite to get the job done, winning the Grade 1, $1 million Pacific Classic by 1 1/4 lengths for trainer John Sadler in Race 10. Held at the classic distance of 1 1/4 miles, the Pacific Classic saw Tripoli stalk in third position before making a bid from the inside and outkicking Tizamagician. Dr Post, the runner-up in the 2020 Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, ran third. Tripoli, ridden by Tiago Pereira, paid $15 for his effort that culminated with a 2:02.37 final time.

Astronaut soared in the finale, winning the Grade 2, $300,000 Del Mar Handicap by a half-length in Race 11. Trained by John Shirreffs, Astronaut won at 24-1 [$50] under a strong ride by Hall of Famer Victor Espinoza, completing the 1 3/8-mile turf course in 2:15.97. Master Piece, off at 22-1, finished second for the high-priced exacta at $458.20 on a $1 bet.

The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on track, on ADW platforms, and at simulcast facilities across the country. Every week will feature a mandatory payout of the net pool.

The Cross Country Pick 5 will continue each Saturday throughout the year. For more information, visit NYRABets.com.

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