It was an emotive Kentucky Oaks under the Twin Spires, for members of Shadwell Stable.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, founder of this magnificent organisation, had passed over in March, but his Malathaat, a daughter of Curlin out of Dreaming of Julia, was undefeated entering the fillies' classic for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Chruchill Downs saw Malathaat (John Velaquez 5-2), simply relishing this moment as she defied 12 other sophomore fillies searching for that beautiful garland of lilies. There were three across the track putting on a brave face for 41,472 fans which encouraged Malathaat, Travel Column 7-2, and, Search Results 5-2, to really blitz the post.
Malathaat completed her mission of 1:49:9/10 over nine furlongs, only a neck from Search Results (Irad Ortiz Junior). Iraz patted John in his usual comeraderic fashion. Not such an easy passage, by the way. Malathaat was bumped along her merry way, only to be reshuffled by John who found a narrow hole. Wills' Secret came third with Clairiere next, but definitely fastest at the end
It is now a foursome for Todd Pletcher who is hoping to make a real punch in the $3 million Kentucky Derby. Sadly, King Fury has been scratched after revealing a high fever and elevated white blood cell count.
A field of nineteen are expected to attempt the 1.4 mile Run for the Roses, presented by Woodford Reserve, late this evening. Godolphin's undefeated, Essential Quality (Luis Saez 2-1), and Bob Baffert's Medina Spirit (John Velasquez 2-1), are currently huge favourites.
Known Agenda (Irad Ortiz Junior 6-1), Rock Your World (Joel Rosario 5-1), Highly Motivated (Javier Castellano 10-1), are part of the crew needing full consideration.