After showing what her connections felt were signs of lethargy prior to the Shuvee (G2) earlier in the Saratoga meeting, Malathaat showed plenty of life when running down Search Results to capture Saturday’s $558,000 Personal Ensign S. (G1).
Surprisingly sent off as the fourth choice in a small but deep field of five fillies and mares, Malathaat outstayed Search Results over 1 1/8 miles to win by a half-length under John Velazquez.
Tracking in third down the backside as champion and 2021 Personal Ensign winner Letruska set the pace with Search Results sitting in second, Malathaat took aim at those two when swung out turning for home. Search Results opened up a one-length lead with a furlong to go, but could not contain Malathaat in the final yards.
“It was very, very nice to see her come back to prove how good a horse she really is. We know she’s a good horse,” Velazquez said. “It’s hard to tell why she was so dull last time. But today, I just made sure that she was in the game and she showed it. When I pulled her out at the three-sixteenths pole and asked her, she was in the game.”
Owned by Shadwell Stable and trained by Todd Pletcher, Malathaat returned $8.40 after completing one lap of Saratoga’s fast track in 1:48.30. Search Results finished two lengths clear of Letruska, while Crazy Beautiful was six lengths behind in fourth.
The major disappointment in the race was the favorite Clairiere, who was exiting wins in the Ogden Phipps (G1) and Shuvee over Malathaat. Acting up a bit in the gate, Clairiere trailed throughout in the Personal Ensign, losing touch with the leaders by more than a dozen lengths at one point.
“She broke well and then they were kind of getting away from me. She took a long time today to find her stride,” jockey Joel Rosario said of Clairiere. “She was still coming in the end. She was acting with a little energy [in the gate] and sometimes those things happen. She jumped up a couple times but she was OK. It was not her day, I guess.”
This was the eighth win in 12 starts for Malathaat, who was voted champion three-year-old filly last season following wins in the Ashland (G1), Kentucky Oaks (G1), and Alabama (G1). She also placed in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), which is her primary target this year at Keeneland on Nov. 5. She opened her season account with another win at Keeneland, in the April 22 Doubledogdare (G3).
Bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet and a $1.05 million Keeneland September purchase, Malathaat is a daughter of Curlin and Grade 1 winner Dreaming of Julia. The latter is by A.P. Indy and out of the Grade 1-winning Dream Rush.