Malagacy winning at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 12
Sumaya US Stables’ Malagacy, a 3-year-old son of Shackleford, produced another head-turning victory while making his second career start Sunday afternoon at Gulfstream Park.
The Todd Pletcher-trained colt was a seven-length winner of Race 4, a first-level allowance optional claimer run at 6 1/2 furlongs. Malagacy ($ 2.40) was ridden to victory by Javier Castellano. The winner stalked the pace set by Wait before moving boldly to the lead at the three-sixteenths pole. He completed the distance in 1:16.55 over a track labeled fast.
It was the second consecutive victory for the Kentucky-bred, who was bought at auction as a 2-year-old for $ 190,000 following his career debut Jan. 4 at Gulfstream Park. Malagacy captured the 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race, which was run in the slop, by 15 lengths in front-running fashion.
“We were pleased with the way he trained since he ran and we didn’t think it would be the case that he needed a wet track to win, but you always like to see them do it,” Pletcher said. “I think we went from one extreme to another — we went from a wet track today to a very different track today, and he seemed to handle it really well.”
In a Jan. 27 breeze at Palm Beach Downs, Malagacy was partnered in a five-furlong work with Battalion Runner, a promising 3-year-old who has won two of three starts and is being pointed to the Florida Derby (G1) at Gulfstream Park April 1. Both horses were given a time of 1:01.40
“He worked with Battalion Runner two works ago and held himself very well, so with Battalion Runner coming back to win after that work it gave us some confidence that [Malagacy] would run well today,” Pletcher said.
Where Malagacy runs next is still to be determined, although it likely will be in a stakes race.
“We’ll definitely step him up to a stakes, but I’m not sure at what distance yet,” Pletcher said. “He gives me the impression that he will probably be best suited to one turn. He’s also a very smart colt, who seems ratable. We’ll play it by ear.”
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