Keeneland's Doubledogdare Stakes Results and Payouts for 4/22/22

Doubledogdare Stakes ResultsPayoffs - Win Place Show
1Malathaat $2.60; $2.10; $2.10
2Bonny South - $2.80; $2.20
3 (Dead Heat)Super Quick - $3.20
Lady Mystify - $2.60

Champion Malathaat Makes Victorious Return in Doubledogdare Stakes

One of the signature moves champion Malathaat has developed over her career is luring her competition into a false sense of security.

Once she makes the lead, as the daughter of Curlin has done almost without fail in her nine career starts, she has a tendency to come off the gas a bit and give the impression that her foes have a shot at upending her. In the first start of her 4-year-old campaign, Shadwell Stable’s regally-bred distaffer was up to her old tricks as she took command in the lane and then turned back Bonny South for an easier-than-it looked three-quarter length victory in the $300,000 Doubledogdare Stakes (G3) at Keeneland on April 22.

The Keeneland main track proved a successful launching pad for Malathaat one year ago as the bay filly scored a victory in the 2021 Ashland Stakes (G1) to kick off a season that saw her annex the Kentucky Oaks (G1) and Alabama Stakes (G1) en route to earning the Eclipse Award for divisional honors. As he readied the daughter of Grade 1 winner Dreaming of Julia for her first outing since running third in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) last November, Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher toed the fine line between having her ready for a winning effort but not so cranked that it takes the starch out of what he hopes is another championship campaign.

After rating well back in fourth as Lady Mystify opened up on the field while reaching the half-mile mark in :46.89, respectively, Malathaat gave her team exactly the eyeful they were hoping for as she began launching a sustained bid approaching the far turn before taking over the lead in the final furlong and being hand ridden to the wire by jockey John Velazquez.

“We were really excited about getting her back as a 4-year-old. She’s a barn favorite, she’s such an intelligent filly. She’s so classy,” Pletcher said. “You’re trying to come back and obviously, you have a champion 3-year-old filly and you don’t want to have her undercooked and not ready but at the same time, you want to be mindful that it’s the beginning of a season-long campaign. I thought we were able to accomplish that.

“She kind of idled a bit when she made the lead which she’ll kind of do. But Johnny said as soon as they got to her, she galloped out and reengaged. It was perfect. It was exactly what we were looking for in the comeback.”

Doing just enough to reach the wire first has been a hallmark for Malathaat in her seven career wins. Aside from a 7 ¾-length triumph in the 2020 Tempted Stakes, her second career start, the $1.05 million Keeneland purchase hasn’t won by double digits with her largest margin of victory since being her 1 ½-length effort in the Alabama.

“It’s kind of a game for her,” Pletcher said. “Once she gets ahead, she thinks it’s mission accomplished.”

“Todd (Pletcher) told me to watch it because she’s a little laid back, so I made sure I kept her attention,” Velazquez added. “We got to the backstretch and I kind of let her do her thing, getting her mind on her business, but by the time we got to the three-eighths pole, I’m like, ‘Man, now I’m too soon.’ I got her out a little too quick. Down the lane I went to make her switch her lead and she got lost looking for the field. Then the other horse (Bonny South) got to her and she went on again, so it was very nice. We know when she gets to the lead she starts waiting, so it was a good comeback for her.”

Sent off as the 1-5 favorite, Malathaat covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.58 over a track rated fast. Bonny South, who was also making her 2022 debut, finished a length in front of Super Quick and Lady Mystify, who finished in a dead heat for third.

“That was a big effort; she ran well,” said Brad Cox, trainer of Bonny South. Very happy with her effort. This will set her up for, hopefully, a big year. And, hopefully, a Grade 1 because she has knocked on the door so many times that we feel like we have to win one.”

Bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, Malathaat improved her earnings to $1,918,825. Her only two defeats have come when she was beaten a head when second in the Coaching Club American Oaks last July and when she finished a half-length behind upset winner Marche Lorraine (JPN) in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Pletcher indicated a start in the Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park on June 11 would be next for Malathaat.

“I think so,” Pletcher said of the Phipps. “We’ll talk to the team and make sure she comes out of well. She’ll probably spend a couple weeks here in Kentucky with us but that’s kind of what we had in the back of our mind, the Phipps. It is a little tricky because ideally, I think she’s at her very best at 1 1/4 miles and as we know, there are limited opportunities for mares at a 1 ¼-miles.”

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