Malathaat to skip Belmont, point to Coaching Club American Oaks

Malathaat to skip Belmont, point to Coaching Club American Oaks
Photo: Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire

Undefeated Kentucky Oaks winner Malathaat will bypass the June 5 Belmont Stakes and instead point toward the $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga on July 24. 

Owned by Shadwell Farm and trained by Todd Pletcher, Malathaat had been considered for the 1 1/2-miles Belmont, the final jewel of racing's Triple Crown, since taking the Kentucky Oaks by a neck to improve to 5-for-5. 

Rick Nichols, vice president and general manager of Shadwell, confirmed to Horse Racing Nation on Tuesday the decision to skip a try against males in the Belmont. The news was first reported by Tamarkuz Media. 

"She's still kind of a big baby, and she's got a big frame that she hadn't filled out," Nichols told HRN. "Todd would like to give her some time to get a little more weight on her. We're afraid giving her a hard race in the Belmont might jeopardize the rest of the year and I think our main goal would be trying to get to the Alabama and then on to the Breeders' Cup."

The Alabama (G1) is set for Aug. 24 at Saratoga, and the goal for the Breeders' Cup "probably" would be the Distaff, Nichols said.

"If we give her the 12 weeks off in between the (Kentucky) Oaks and the CCA Oaks, hopefully she'll mature a little bit more, put on some weight, get her ready to go. She's a very good training filly, so it's not like she's going to need a race going into the CCA Oaks. She eats well – she's just growing and can't quite catch up with herself just yet."

Malathaat was identified as a potential Belmont starter by her connections immediately after her win in the Kentucky Oaks. Bovada had listed odds of 8-1 for her to win the Belmont.

The daughter of Curlin out of Grade 1 winner Dreaming of Julia has won four consecutive stakes since her debut win at Belmont in last October. After taking the listed Tempted Stakes going a mile at Aqueduct, she moved up to the graded ranks and scored in the Demoiselle (G2) and Ashland prior to the Oaks. 

"She worked really well the other day (four furlongs in 49.89 on Thursday), and that was the first work back," Nichols said. "Then she galloped well this morning. We just want to give her some time. She's done everything right so far. We want to do everything right for her."

This year's Breeders' Cup will be held at Del Mar on Nov. 5-6 

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