It has been a sad few weeks for everyone at Shadwell since the death of our founder His Highness Sheikh Hamdan, but there was cause for cheer when MALATHAAT carried the operation’s illustrious blue and white silks to a brave victory in the Kentucky Oaks on April 30.
The Todd Pletcher-trained filly is now unbeaten in five starts and has also won the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes, Grade 2 Demoiselle Stakes and Listed Tempted Stakes. She becomes Shadwell’s first winner of the Churchill Downs fillies’ Classic.
MALATHAAT showed tremendous class and courage in her Kentucky Oaks victory. She was squeezed for room soon after breaking from the gates, but jockey John Velazquez rushed her into a more prominent position at the first turn.
The beautiful bay filly loomed ominously behind the leaders while having to race wider than ideal, before making her challenge soon after entering the home stretch. She battled gamely to defeat the previously unbeaten SEARCH RESULTS by a neck.
Rick Nichols, the long-serving general manager and vice president of Shadwell Farm in Kentucky, collected the trophy and said afterwards: “It’s a huge victory for all of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan’s operation, not just in America, but England, Ireland and all over the world. It’s a great honour for me to represent the late Sheikh Hamdan and his family.
“I know they would want me to thank Todd Pletcher and all his tremendous staff for getting MALATHAAT to the race so well, Johnny for riding her so well and Churchill Downs for allowing her to show just how good she is.”
MALATHAAT was bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings and is by CURLIN out of DREAMING OF JULIA, a daughter of A.P. Indy who won the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes at two and finished fourth in the Kentucky Oaks at three herself.
Purchased by Shadwell at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, she pays handsome tribute to HH Sheikh Hamdan’s wise judgement and perseverance in striving to breed and race elite thoroughbred talents.