Champion 3-Year-Old Filly Title Goes to Malathaat

To take home the crown as the top 3-year-old filly in the United Stakes, there are a handful of races that help build a winning case. In 2021 Shadwell Stable’s Malathaat a magnificently bred daughter of Curlin won three signature events among her five starts—and was easily named the Eclipse Award champion in her division.

Malathaat was born to be a star. She was bred by Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings out of its homebred AP Indy mare Dreaming of Julia , one of the gems of a deep broodmare band at the Central Kentucky nursery. Dreaming of Julia was a grade 1 winner for Stonestreet and the favorite for the 2013 Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1). Her daughter would do her one better, winning the April 30 event at Churchill Downs as the 5-2 favorite.

Like most other Stonestreet-bred fillies, Malathaat was offered at a public auction, and she was as advertised. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Shadwell Stable, through its vice president Rick Nichols, went to $1.05 million to procure her at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

“She was a gorgeous yearling filly and that was the last year Sheikh Hamdan was here for the sales,” Nichols remembered. “He loved her. That year we really focused on getting some well-bred fillies, and she fit that bill. I couldn’t believe they even considered selling.”

With Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher, Malathaat was unbeaten in three starts at 2, having won the Demoiselle Stakes (G2) late in the season at Aqueduct Racetrack. She made her 3-year-old bow in the April 3 Central Bank Ashland Stakes (G1) at Keeneland under Joel Rosario and rallied to win by a head over Pass the Champagne in a bittersweet score as Sheikh Hamdan had passed March 24 (the race came the day after a 10-day mourning period for the owner). The Oaks score, with John Velazquez up, came in an equally dramatic and poignant fashion, a neck decision over Search Results under the Twin Spires.

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The big bay tasted defeat for the first time in late July at Saratoga Race Courseedged by Maracuja in the nine-furlong Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), but she bounced back to take the meet’s top event for sophomore fillies—the 10-furlong Alabama Stakes (G1)—by 1 1/2 lengths over fellow Stonestreet-bred, Curlin -sered filly Clairee .

Malathaat’s patented late rally fell just a half-length short in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Del Mar, But championship-defining victories at Keeneland, Churchill Downs, and Saratoga were more than enough to seal the deal.

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