Malagacy enters Kentucky picture at Oaklawn Park
Report: USA, Saturday
Oaklawn Park: Rebel Stakes (Grade 2) 1m½f | dirt | 3yo
Malagacy (Todd Pletcher/Javier Castellano) is the latest name to be added to the Kentucky Derby mix after taking his unbeaten record to three with an accomplished victory in the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn.
After a couple of wide-margin victories at Gulfstream Park, the son of Preakness Stakes victor Shackleford pressed the pace before striking for home in the stretch and taking the $900,000 contest by two lengths from outsider Sonneteer.
"He showed today that he can definitely go around two turns and I am very proud of him," said trainer Todd Pletcher, who will now target next month's Arkansas Derby. "He showed good tactical speed yet he raced very kindly, which we thought he would do.
"We were trying a new distance and he was stepping up in class against some nice, seasoned horses so I was very, very pleased with and proud of his effort."
The 8-5 favourite American Anthem never seemed comfortable in the race as he sought to give trainer Bob Baffert his seventh Rebel victory in eight years.
Also on Saturday
Santa Anita: Santa Margarita Stakes (Grade 1) 1m1f | dirt | 4yo+ f/m
Vale Dori (Bob Baffert/Rafael Bejarano) was shadowed by last year's champion female sprinter Finest City all the way around before pulling away in the final furlong to complete a five-timer with her first Grade 1 victory in North America.
The much travelled four-year-old won by a length and a half with the third nearly ten lengths further away. A Grade 1 winner in her native Argentina as a two-year-old before contesting last year's UAE Classics for Mike de Kock, Vale Dori's career record now stands at eight wins from 13 starts.