Having won both the Ashland and the Kentucky Oaks at Grade I level already this year, the world appeared to be at the feet of Todd Pletcher’s Malathaat, owned by the Shadwell Stud.
The three-year-old filly, by Curlin, had more Grade I glory as her target at Saratoga’s summer meet before heading for a date with destiny in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Del Mar in November.
However, despite being sent from the gates as the long odds-on favourite in New York, John Velazquez’s mount suffered an agonizing defeat at the hands of Maracuja in the Coaching Club American Oaks to leave people wondering; what comes next?
What Can Malathaat Now Achieve?
Well, the answer to that and whether or not her defeat was such a big deal after all may lie in ratings produced not in the States, but in England.
Immediately following the American Oaks, the general consensus is that it has prove that Malathaat is good, but perhaps nothing special.
Stateside, we tend to concentrate heavily on speed figures as far as using numbers goes to analyze racehorse form. However, pace is different in every race and in a four-runner event, which the American Oaks was, the pace is not usually the most reliable indicator.
The Racing Post, Britain’s horse racing trade newspaper, produces its own publicly available ratings for all events in the UK and Ireland, as well as for the bigger races elsewhere around the world. They have been proven to be very reliable over the course of decades and are not based on pace, but purely on form and ability overall.
So, what did the Racing Post Ratings tell us about CC American Oaks? Well, Malathaat achieved RPR’s of 110 and 110 in winning both the Ashland and the Kentucky Oaks. What was her mark at Saratoga? 110 yet again!
This shows us that, while no real improvement has been shown, she has not taken a backward step at all and is still on track for her other major targets for the rest of the year; the Alabama and the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
It is worth noting also that, in small fields, the RPR’s tend to come out a little lower. So, had this race been run at a truer pace, that angle having been a cause for concern for Todd Pletcher before the event and whether or not Malathaat would have won it, her rating could have been even higher. So, her overall profile is still one of an improving filly.
Possible Betting Value Now in Pletcher Filly
The fact that Malathaat has been beaten at prohibitive odds means her reputation has taken a slight dent, giving her attractive future odds for the big one at Del Mar. For those looking to bet on horses, it may be worth taking that price with the best horse racing betting sites now as she has lost very little in defeat in all truth.
One remaining form factor is deciding what distance is Malathaat’s best. Overall, she seems to be a filly that needs a test, making the slow-run 1 1/8 miles now a little to short for her. The Alabama is over the mile-and-a-quarter which should suit her, while the more furious pace of the 1 1/8-mile Distaff against older horse can also drag the best out of her.
Should Malathaat go on to win the GI Alabama at Saratoga on August 21, she will be very hot property against the older fillies and mares in the Distaff in California on November 6 and that is worth keeping in mind.