January 22, 2022

Alabama offers rubber match between Malathaat, Maracuja

Maracuja (outside) wins the Coaching Club American Oaks (Photo by Chelsea Durand/Coglianese Photos)

Alabama S. (G1) — Race 10 (6:13 p.m. ET)

Malathaat proved not so invincible when upset by Maracuja in last month’s Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), but will have an opportunity to make amends with the fan base at Saratoga on Saturday in the $600,000 Alabama S. (G1) over 1 1/4 miles.

Favored at 3-10 against three rivals off back-to-back wins in the Ashland (G1) and Kentucky Oaks (G1), Malathaat found herself in the unusual position of leading in a paceless Coaching Club. Maracuja pressed the favorite through the first call, and then dropped back as rival Clairiere came up to take over the pressing duties. Under Ricardo Santana Jr., Maracuja re-rallied and upset Malathaat by a neck at odds of 14-1. Malathaat had previously beaten Maracuja by 7 1/2 lengths in the Kentucky Oaks.

“I’m hoping that we get on the outside and stay clear. Those other two fillies just kept tag-teaming her and she never had a chance to take a breath,” said Shadwell Stables’ General Manager Rick Nichols. “I think the additional distance will be a benefit to her as well.”

In addition to Clairiere, who finished third in the Coaching Club, the cast joining Malathaat and Maracuja in the Alabama include Crazy Beautiful and Army Wife, both of whom enter on two-race win streaks. Crazy’s Beautiful rebounded from a 10th-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks to register a cross-country double in the Summertime Oaks (G2) at Santa Anita and the Delaware Oaks (G3), while Army Wife has done some traveling of her own to take the Black-Eyed Susan (G2) at Pimlico and the Iowa Oaks (G3) at Prairie Meadows in her last two.

Rounding out the field are the Grade 3-winning Will’s Secret, the Ashland and Kentucky Oaks third who finished sixth as the favorite in the Indiana Oaks (G3) last time, and last-out allowance scorer Played Hard.

Earlier in the card, Technical Analysis will be a strong favorite to follow up her recent Lake George (G3) triumph in the $200,000 Lake Placid S. (G2), a 1 1/16-mile grass event also for three-year-old fillies.