CLAIRIERE, MALATHAAT, NEST, AND SECRET OATH ARE ON A COLLISION COURSE

On May 6, 2022, Nest placed second to Secret Oath in the Kentucky Oaks for 3-year-old fillies but turned the tables on Saturday and ran away from Secret Oath in the Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga.  This was not surprising after Secret Oath struggled in the Preakness, finishing fourth, whereas Nest ran a huge race in the Belmont Stakes, placing second to Mo Donegal. Mo Donegal and Nest are partly owned by Mike Repole and Todd Pletcher trains both horses. 

After Nest’s impressive performance in the Belmont Stakes and her overpowering effort in the Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks, her owners must decide whether to run her against fillies in the Alabama Stakes on August 20 or in the Travers Stakes a week later. 

The day after the Coaching Club American Oaks, the 4-year-old fillies Clairiere and Malathaat had a rematch in the Grade II Shuvee for older fillies and mares. This was the third time they have met, with Malathaat winning the 2021 Alabama Stakes and Clairiere defeating Malathaat in the 2022 Ogden Phipps Stakes at Belmont Park and then again in the Shuvee Stakes.

Barring a setback, Nest, Secret Oath, Clairiere, and Malathaat will be in the 2022 Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Keeneland.  That may prove to be the most intriguing race on the Breeders’ Cup card.

If Nest’s connections were to run her in the Travers instead of the Alabama, Secret Oath would likely be the favorite in the Alabama.  Should she win that race, coupled with her defeat of Nest in the Kentucky Oaks, she would seem to be a strong candidate for 3-year-old filly of the year.  However, that is unlikely unless she is able to beat Nest in at least one additional race, preferably in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

The thinking here is that Mike Repole and Todd Pletcher will not run Nest in the Travers but will put her in the Alabama. In that case, Secret Oath’s owners will have a difficult decision to make about running her back in the Alabama after Nest’s dominance in the Coaching Club American Oaks.

Based on Nest’s strong and ever-improving outings in the Belmont Stakes and the Coaching Club American Oaks, she will be hard for any filly or mare to beat, especially with her having three more months to mature before the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

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