Spa traffic no problem as Malathaat is running strongly

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Wait, the race isn’t until next week.

Malathaat and jockey John Velazquez were working with their teammate Zaajel on Saturday morning in preparation for the Coaching Club American Oaks.

The main track at Saratoga Racecourse is still a hive of activity for the first round of gallops and breezes after the 8am renovation break as the track is in perfect condition and everyone wants to enjoy it .

So it is not uncommon to run into traffic problems when trying to do your job. That’s exactly what Malathaat and Zaajel did, taking the turn for a half-mile breeze and running behind two horses from John Terranova’s barn.

Coach Todd Pletcher served as the ground traffic controller, giving direction to Velazquez’s radio receiver, and Malathaat and Zaajel leaned in the middle of the track to free themselves from the Terranova horses and finish the breeze in a quick 48. , 05 each, the last serious job before the undefeated Malathaat races into the CCA Oaks next Saturday.

“I tried to do a nice, easy job, and all of a sudden it was a race,” said Velazquez.

“I didn’t design it that way,” Pletcher said dryly. “Of course you don’t want that to happen, but it does. Sometimes there are heavy traffic situations, but it didn’t seem to bother her at all. I thought she was working very well.

Nothing has really bothered Malathaat as she assembled a 5 for 5 record that includes narrow wins in Grade I Ashland and Grade I Kentucky Oaks this season to propel her to the top of the 3-year-old filly division.

On Saturday she worked outside Zaajel, who upset the Grade II goose mother as the longest shot in the array last time around, and they moved in tandem to the outside of the horses. Terranova at the pole of the three sixteenths. Malathaat and Zaajel were each credited with the fifth fastest time out of 139 four-meter works on the main track.

“Nothing we can do,” Velazquez said. “We were there, kind of waited a bit, and Todd said, ‘OK, pull it out and let it finish for a bit. Then he said, “Sit down,” because we were going a little faster than we wanted.

“I put her behind them for a reason, because now she’s getting competitive. I can’t ask for anything other than what she did today.

“I just told him to stay out of those horses,” Pletcher said. “You don’t know for sure what these horses are going to do, but I didn’t want him to try to get inside or anything.

“She worked really well. It actually engaged her, put her back and it looked like she was full of racing throughout. She is strong. She is ready.

Besides Malathaat, Clairiere, Maracuja and Rockpaperscissors should race in the CCA Oaks, but Army Wife and Town Avenger are possible.

Coach Kenny McPeek was targeting the race for Crazy Beautiful and Tabor Hall, but his horses are in preventive quarantine due to a positive case of Equine Herpesvirus-1 in Barn 86 5th Avenue.

Maracuja, the Gazelle search results finalist who was seventh behind Malathaat in the Kentucky Oaks, completed a half-mile in 49.98 with Silipo, an unreleased 2-year-old.

“She’s off to a good start in the race,” said coach Rob Atras. “I know it will be a tough race. I don’t know if she can play with this filly [Malathaat], it is quite impressive. I’ve watched all of her races, and she’s also a fighter.

“I’m not saying we can beat her, but if we have a good race, even if she comes second it would be a great accomplishment for her.”


Coach Brad Cox stepped up Essential Quality preparation for the July 31 Jim Dandy by working with his colt in company, completing five stages in 1: 01.81 on the main track.

Ridden by regular jockey Luis Saez, Essential Quality worked from the half mile with the winner of the 3 year old, raised in New York City, Bingo John.

“It was a solid decision,” Cox said. “Looks like he’s stayed well. We wanted to let him get away with it for a bit. He had a good gallop.


Sunday’s star is the $ 120,000 Coronation Cup for 3-year-old fillies going to 5 1/2 stages on the Mellon Turf Course.

Goin ‘Good is the favorite of the morning line 5-2 after an allocation win over firm turf at Churchill Downs on June 12.

She has won three times with a second in five starts over the Coronation Cup distance.

“Having a little over five eighths helps a bit,” said coach Brad Cox. “She’s not the fastest thing in the world. Sometimes it might take her a few jumps to really get into position, but once she pulls away from there she is able to get into a nice tactical position.


Besides the CCA Oaks there are two other ranked stakes next weekend, the Grade III Lake George for 3 year old fillies on turf and the Grade II Shuvee for older fillies and mares on land.

The Lake George field is shaping up to include Alda, Amy C, Demodog, Fluffy Socks, I Get It, Jouster, Minaun, Navratilova, Nevisian Sunrise and Tobys Heart.

Antoinette, Crystal Ball, Dunbar Road, Liberty MD, Point of Honor, Royal Flag, and Water White point to the Shuvee.

Swiss Skydiver had filmed for the Shuvee, but like the rest of McPeek’s barn, is subject to the EHV-1 quarantine.

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