Make it a fantastic four Kentucky Oaks victories for Todd Pletcher.
With jockey John Velazquez aboard, Shadwell Stable’s Malathaat held off a game effort by Search Results in the stretch to win the 147th running of the $1,250,000 Grade 1 race for 3-year-old fillies by a neck before an announced crowd of 41,472 at Churchill Downs.
It was Pletcher’s first Oaks win since he triumphed with Princess Sylmar in 2013. Before that, the New York-based trainer won with Ashado in 2004 and Rags to Riches in 2007. The late Woody Stephens holds the all-time record for Oaks wins by a trainer with five — 1959, 1960, 1963, 1978 and 1981. It was the second win for Velazquez, who was also aboard Ashado.
It was the first Oaks victory for Shadwell, the racing operation of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, who died last month at age 75.
Winner of the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland on April 3, Malathaat paid $7.00, $4.60 and $3.40. Trained by Chad Brown and owned by Seth Klarman’s Klaravich Stables, Search Results paid $6.80 and $5.60. Long shot Will’s Secret paid $9.60 to show. The winning time was 1:48.99.
Travel Column, second in the morning line behind Malathaat, finished fifth behind fourth-place finisher Clairiere.
Bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, Malathaat improved to 5-for-5 lifetime. A $1,050,000 purchase at the Keeneland September Select Yearling Sale in 2019, the daughter of Curlin won the Tempted Stakes and Grade 2 Demoiselle Stakes last year at Aqueduct, before winning her 3-year-old debut in the Ashland.
Hoping for an Oaks/Derby double, Pletcher has four horses in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby — Florida Derby winner Known Agenda, Wood Memorial winner Bourbonic, Wood Memorial runner-up Dynamic One and Jeff Ruby Steaks runner-up Sainthood.