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Malathaat heads to the winner's circle with her trainer Todd Pletcher beside her.
The $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) is the premier race in the country for 3-year-old fillies, and is the female counterpart to the Kentucky Derby. After Ava's Grace scratched, a field of 13 faced the starter in the 147th renewal of this 1 1/8 mile main track feature at Churchill Downs, run on Friday before 41,472 fans, under partly cloudy skies and a post time temperature of 74 degrees and extreme humidity, with the main track fast. Despite the restricted attendance, wagering from all-sources on the full Kentucky Oaks racecard totaled $54.3 million up 76% compared to the 2020 Kentucky Oaks. All-sources wagering on the Kentucky Oaks race was $17.4 million up 74% from last year's Kentucky Oaks race.
Malathaat was sent off as the 5-2 favorite, undefeated in 4 starts including the Ashland (G1) at Keeneland last out. In to challenge her included 7-2 second choice Travel Column, winner of the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), and 11-2 third choice Search Results, undefeated winner of the Gazelle Stakes (G3).
Malathaat leads down the stretch in the Kentucky Oaks.
There were five other stakes races on the card with the Oaks. Full results for all of them with more photos are here.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 10 Malathaat Velazquez 7.00 4.60 3.40 12 Search Results Ortiz Jr. 6.80 5.60 11 Will's Secret Court 9.60 Winning Time: 1:48.99 $2 Exacta 10-12 37.80 $1 Trifecta 10-12-11 464.50 $1 Superfecta 10-12-11-3 2,808.70
Left: Malathaat in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Todd Pletcher, who watched the race with family from the Churchill paddock on their big screen, said, "She got away from there just a bit slow, but Johnny (Velazquez) moved her up and got her in a much better position. He had to lose some ground and go wide to do it, but it was the right thing to do. She wants a target to run at and she got one here. Delighted with the outcome."
Right: Malathaat heads back to the barn. Pletcher added, "She is just such a professional. Not only is she a tremendously talented filly, but she's also a very kind filly around the barn. You just can't help but love her personality. You can literally do anything with her. So to have that type of personality around the barn and be as special as she is on the racetrack, it's just rare that you find too many like this."
Left: Malathaat walks over before the race. Winning jockey John Velazquez said, "She didn't get away the best, but I got a spot with her. She was running well and when I turned for home I had a target (Search Results) to send her after. We got up next to her and my filly went by. Then she waited a bit; she does that. The other filly came back but I could tell I was still in control. I never thought I was going to do anything but win."
Right: Malathaat in the paddock. Velazquez added, "I'm glad that the result came our way and the way she ran. Makes my job a lot easier. Made me look good."
Left: Jockey John Velazquez and trainer Todd Pletcher celebrate after the win. When asked about owner-breeder Sheikh Hamdan's passing in March, Rick Nichols, General Manager of Shadwell Farm, said, "A million things have been going through my mind. But the victory for Sheikh Hamdan's family and all of our operations in the United States, but also Derrinstown in Ireland, Shadwell Estate in England, and all of his horses in Dubai, all the stables. I know they were all watching it. We heard that there's several people in Dubai that stayed up late hours to watch. You know, losing the boss the way we did and him coming off a great year, he was the leading owner in Europe last year. And we have many good horses in our stable this year. And having Malathaat to step up and give him an Oaks win is, you know, more than we could ask for."
Right: Malathaat circles after the race.
Left: Second place finisher Search Results walks over before the race. Her trainer Chad Brown said, "I'm so proud of the filly and the way she ran. She put it all out there on the track for us and you can't ask for anything more than that. She ran her eyeballs out, she really did. She battled all the wayto the end and we got beat by a really good filly. She delivered and hopefully we'll get one of these one day." Her jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. added, "We had a perfect trip sitting just to the outside of the pace, we just got beat today. She ran a really solid effort and fought hard down the stretch."
Right: Third place finisher Will's Secret in the post parade. Her trainer Dallas Stewart said, "We're real proud of her. This filly's been knocking heads all year. We ran hard in Hot Springs (winning two stakes) and now we ran hard here.We have a lot ahead for her this year. And we have her full brother coming along right behind her. We're going to win some big ones; we've got some good babies." Her jockey Jon Court added, "I sat a great trip just behind the leaders and she tried hard. She really ran a good race."
Left: The fillies break from the gate for the Kentucky Oaks. Winning jockey John Velazquez said, "I didn't leave the gate the way I would have loved to. We can plan whatever we want when the gate is opened, and it doesn't work out that way you think it's going to. She let me do what I wanted to do. Unfortunately, I didn't want to do what I needed to do. But she actually took it really well. She didn't break good. We got bumped around a little bit. When I saw the two horses that--the two horses to beat in front of me, so I had to make a decision. And I had to get as close as I can to the horses in front where she didn't have to make too much ground. She allowed me to do it."
Right: Shortly after the start with Malathaat (blue and white striped helmet) at the back of the pack.
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