Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire
Malathaat will try to stay unbeaten in the Grade 1, $500,000 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga on Saturday and at the same time notch her third Grade 1 victory of the year.
Run at 1 1/8 miles, the CCA Oaks has been won by the future champion of the 3-year-old filly division for three years in a row with Monomoy Girl in 2018, Abel Tasman in 2017 and Songbird in 2016.
Here is a full field analysis for the Coaching Club American Oaks with morning-line odds provided by the Horse Racing Nation staff.
1. Malathaat (2-5 – Curlin – Todd Pletcher / John Velazquez – 5: 5-0-0 - $1,125,150) Malathaat puts her perfect career record on the line in the CCA Oaks as she also seeks her third Grade 1 victory in a row. This year, the Shadwell Stable runner won the Ashland (G1) and the Kentucky Oaks. In both races, she came from off the pace with a carefully measured move to win by a neck and a head. In her most recent workout, she and her training partner had to race past another trainer’s duo, and Malathaat was completely under control as she was sent wide around them to rejoin her stablemate. Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher will try to win the Oaks for the eighth time, most recently in 2015 with Curalina. She will be very hard to beat in this small field going the nine-furlong distance. Top choice.
2. Maracuja (8-1 – Honor Code – Rob Atras / Ricardo Santana Jr. – 5: 1-2-1 - $132,100) Maracuja went from a maiden special weight victory at Aqueduct in February to a second in the Gazelle (G3) behind Search Results, and then she was seventh in the Kentucky Oaks. The Rob Atras filly has been off since the Oaks. She is another one who prefers to run from off the pace. Maracuja also appears to be in a very tough spot. Possible for second.
3. Rockpaperscissors (8-1 – Distorted Humor – Rodolphe Brisset / Julien Leparoux – 3: 2-0-0 - $63,710) Lightly raced, Rockpaperscissors won her last two starts with a maiden score at Churchill in September and then an allowance victory by almost 10 lengths in a race that was meant for the turf at Indiana Grand. Add her to the list of fillies in this Grade 1 that run from behind the pace. This is a significant step up in class. Fourth is likely.
4. Clairiere (5-2 – Curlin – Steve Asmussen / Irad Ortiz Jr. – 6: 2-2-1 - $437,992) At the Fair Grounds, Clairiere was at the top of the 3-year-old filly division after she won the Rachel Alexandra (G2) early in the year. The competition has gotten tougher and she has continued to run well, but she has not been back to the winner’s circle since February. In her last two starts, Clairiere was fourth in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) and third in the Mother Goose (G2). In that New York race, she stumbled at the start and raced wide. Expect her to come running down the stretch. Second best.
Summary: Malathaat and Clairiere have a significant class edge in this group of four. The field is filled with horses that prefer to run from off the pace with no apparent early speed. Malathaat raced more forwardly in the first two starts of her career, so if Johnny V. and Pletcher see fit, she could take control of this race much earlier than she has in her recent starts.
Malathaat will be very hard to beat in this field, and Clairiere is just as likely to finish second.