TORONTO, June 24, 2020 – Malakeh, a five-year-old daughter of Harbour Watch (IRE), goes after her third straight score in Saturday’s Grade 2 $175,000 Nassau Stakes, at Woodbine.
Bred by Gestut Gorlsdorf, the bay mare will make her first start in Canada when she goes postward in the one-mile E.P. Taylor Turf Course engagement that has drawn seven hopefuls.
Trained by Graham Motion, who won last year’s Nassau with Secret Message, the ultra-consistent Malakeh will shoot for the natural hat trick on Saturday.
After a polished performance to close the curtain on her 2019 campaign last August at Saratoga, Malakeh opened up her current season with another win, a gutsy neck score over firm going at Churchill Downs on May 22.
Both victories came at the mile distance.
“I think we’ve decided that this is what she likes to do, distance-wise,” said Motion, who is closing in on 2,500 career wins. “I don’t see why [Woodbine turf] wouldn’t suit her. I’m sure it’s in great shape.”
After a third-place debut at Chantilly in March 2018, the British-bred, owned by Heider Family Stables, Madaket Stables and Michael Kisber, headed to Germany for her next four engagements.
Malakeh broke her maiden in her second German start, an efficient head score in the one-mile Henkel Stutenpreis on April 29, 2018.
She made her North American debut last April, finishing second, just a head back of the winner, in the one-mile race at Keeneland.
In her next start, on May 24 at Belmont, Malakeh won by a neck at 1 1/8-miles.
She arrives at the Nassau with a 4-3-2 record from 10 starts.
“She’s so honest,” praised Motion. “To be truthful, I couldn’t believe when I ran her in the allowance race at Keeneland that she was beaten. It turns out she was beaten by a pretty serious filly [Juliet Foxtrot]. So, I was very confused about her form right away because I liked her so much, that I couldn’t imagine her not sailing through that condition. But it’s funny how things work out. She’s never run a bad race, really. She’s very consistent and hard-trying.”
It was something that Motion discovered early on.
“When she was working in Florida last winter, she was very impressive.”
The Nassau is the first leg of Woodbine’s Ladies of the Lawn Series, which offers $75,000 in bonuses to the top performers based on points accumulated in the designated graded turf routes for fillies and mares.
The series also includes the $175,000 Dance Smartly Stakes (Grade 2, on August 15), the $250,000 Canadian Stakes (Grade 2, September 12) and the $600,000 E.P. Taylor Stakes (Grade 1, October 18), which will serve as the series’ final leg.
Eight horses have won the Nassau twice, including Eternal Search (1982-83) and Bold Ruritana (1995-96). Augustin Stable took a division of the 1985 edition with Annie Edge, who won the Grade 2 New York Handicap one year earlier.
The Nassau, Woodbine’s first turf stakes of the meet, is Race 8 on Saturday’s 10-race card. First post time is 1 p.m. Fans can watch and wager on all the action via HPIbet.com.
$175,000 Nassau Stakes (Grade 2)
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Nantucket Red – Gary Boulanger – Ashlee Brnjas
2 – Another Time – Jerome Lermyte – Barbara Minshall
3 – Amalfi Coast – Rafael Hernandez – Kevin Attard
4 – Lunar Garden – Justin Stein – Stuart Simon
5 – Elizabeth Way – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Roger Attfield
6 – Malakeh – Kazushi Kimura – Graham Motion
7 – Eyeinthesky – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse