Malathaat Wins G1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland
Malathaat kicked off her 2021 campaign with an impressive victory in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday afternoon.
Her next start will come in the Kentucky Oaks.
The 3-year-old daughter of Curlin emerged from a four-month layoff to remain undefeated in her fourth career start, screaming through the stretch to catch Pass the Champagne at the wire. It was her first start since a victory in the Grade 2 Demoiselle Stakes over a sloppy track at Aqueduct on Dec. 5. The win in the Ashland earned 100 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points for Malathaat, who is trained by Todd Pletcher and owned by Shadwell Stable.
She won the 1 1/16-mile race in 1:42.94 as the 9-5 morning-line favorite.
Joel Rosario rode Malathaat for the first time Saturday, and the victory marked his third consecutive stakes win on Saturday’s card and his fifth over the first seven stakes races of the Keeneland meet.
Simply Ravishing — the 5-2 second choice on the morning line — set the early fractions but was passed up by Pass the Champagne coming out of the far turn.
Pass the Champagne, running for the first time since breaking her maiden at Gulfstream Park in late February, earned 40 Oaks qualifying points for the runner-up finish.
Will’s Secret was another 5¼ lengths back in third place — earning 20 Oaks qualifying points — and long-shot Moon Swag finished another 5¼ lengths behind her in fourth. Simply Ravishing faded to last place in the field of six fillies.
The Kentucky Oaks is set for April 30 at Churchill Downs.