Mucciolo: My Breeders' Cup Saturday Single

November 4th, 2022

A stellar group of eight fillies and mares will go postward in a fantastic edition of the $2 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Keeneland on Saturday. The affair features seven individual Grade 1 winners out of the eight entrants, and a case can be made for each of those accomplished lassies. And as much as I respect the entire cast, I can’t go against Shadwell’s #1 Malathaat (3-1).

One of two major players in the field for conditioner Todd Pletcher, the superb Curlin filly has never run a bad race in her lifetime and has been pointing towards this event since finishing a close third in the contest at Del Mar last season. The 2021 Kentucky Oaks (G1) heroine has earned a trio of Grade 1 victories since that feat beneath the Twin Spires, which includes a dominant, 5 1/4-length trouncing of her foes in the Spinster S. (G1) on the surface last time out.

Malathaat often leaves it late and rarely wins by a sizable margin, but the phenomenal filly has a nose for the wire and has moved forward in each start since adding blinkers three races back, as well. The Kentucky-bred four-year-old is a sterling 3-for-3 on the Keeneland dirt and appears to be sitting on a big effort on Saturday after posting a pair of useful local morning drills as of late.

The filly received a fine rail draw in a field with some pace in it to allow her to stalk the action early on while saving ground throughout. I expect her to tip outside prior to the turn for home and wear her rivals down inside the final furlong with regular rider John Velazquez in the silks. And with a score in the Distaff, one would have to believe that she will be on the cusp of a Hall of Fame berth at the conclusion of her racing career.

I will key Malathaat on top of the vertical exotics, as well as in my horizontal plays, notably the late Pick 4 and Pick 5. Good Luck!