News and STORIES

Malathaat To Bypass Belmont Stakes, And Target Races At Saratoga

Author: Ryan Knuppel
Published: Wednesday May 19, 2021
The Belmont Stakes is the third and final Triple Crown race of the season, but the runners that will be making up the field are still very much in the air. There had been an expectancy that star filly Malathaat could target the Belmont Stakes and attempt to become the first filly winner of the Triple Crown race since Rags to Riches in 2007.

Only three fillies have won the famous race in the past, but Malathaat certainly held all the potential to join the illustrious group. However, trainer Todd Pletcher has now insisted that the three-year-old will not be heading to Belmont and will instead target big filly races at Saratoga later in the year.

Pletcher Opts To Sidestep Belmont Stakes

There may be slight disappointment that Malathaat will not be targeting the Belmont Stakes, as she would have had a decent chance to achieve filly glory in the Triple Crown race. There have only been 23 previous fillies to take on the challenge, with three of them claiming success. That means that fillies have a decent 13% win rate in the famous race. The most recent filly runner came in 2013, as Unlimited Budget finished sixth behind Palace Malice.

A statement from connections revealed that Malathaat is a little ‘light,’ and connections wanted to give the unbeaten three-year-old extra time to grow before lining her up for another race. There is no denying what the predicted end goal for the three-year-old this season is, as the Breeders’ Cup Distaff looks the most likely target.

However, instead of traveling through Belmont, the most likely route will now take her to the Grade 1 Club America Oaks in July before lining up for the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes the following month. Both of which will likely see Malathaat start as the clear favorite in the betting judging from the progression that she has shown so far this season.

Rombauer Looks Set For Crack At Belmont Stakes

One horse that looks almost certain for the Belmont Stakes is Rombauer. The Preakness Stakes winner arrived in Belmont earlier this week and will likely begin his preparation for an unlikely second Triple Crown success before the weekend. He will be situated in barn 45 ahead of the training, which means that trainer Michael McCarthy opted not to share a barn with Pletcher, who he had worked with for the best part of a decade before flying solo.

Rombauer is already one of the front runners in the betting for the Belmont Stakes after such an impressive run when seeing off nine challengers in the Preakness this past weekend. He held off three previous Kentucky Derby winners to win that race, but it is likely that a number of horses that run in the opening Triple Crown race but bypassed the Preakness will be back in action for the Belmont.

Rombauer will likely have a bigger field to contend with if he is to win a second Triple Crown race of the season, but confidence will be high with connections, as the Preakness victory highlights that progress has been made this season. Essential Quality still heads the betting for the final Triple Crown race of the season, but he will need to bounce back from the first defeat of his career at Belmont. Midnight Bourbon also looks likely for the Belmont Stakes after he finished second last weekend. Hot Rod Charlie is also under consideration, while Rebel’s Romance, who won the UAE Derby, could also be a very interesting contender on his first run in the States.

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