Malathaat outlasts aggressive stretch battle to win 2021 Kentucky Oaks

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Malathaat, the 5-2 morning-line favorite, delivered in the 2021 Kentucky Oaks (G1) to stay undefeated after a tense chase down the homestretch with Search Results. The Kentucky Oaks is run at a distance of 1 1/8 miles at Churchill Downs with a purse of $1.25 million and is limited to 3-year-old fillies.

This is the fourth career Oaks win for trainer Todd Pletcher, who fields Known Agenda, Bourbonic, Dynamic One and Sainthood in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. Last year’s Derby winner John Velazquez was in the irons, picking up his second Oaks victory. He will ride Bob Baffert’s Medina Spirit in the Kentucky Derby.

Travel Column, fielded by Brad Cox and Florent Geroux of last year’s Oaks-winning duo behind Shedaresthedevil, set the pace early. Malathaat recovered from a bumpy start to make her way through the pack. She and Search Results, trained by Chad Brown, flew around the final turn before separating themselves from the rest of the field and battling all the way to the wire.

“[Malathaat] has an innate talent to really target a horse,” Pletcher told NBC Sports’ Kenny Rice right after the race. “She’s just a pure-class filly.”

Malathaat paid $7 to win, $4.60 to place and $3.40 to show. Search Results (5-1), who took second, paid $6.80 to place and $5.60 to show. This was her first career loss. Third-place finisher Will’s Secret (26-1) paid $9.60 to show.

All eyes turn to the 147th Kentucky Derby, where Champion 2-Year-Old Male Essential Quality looks to stay undefeated against a field of 18 other horses.

The 2021 Kentucky Derby will air on Saturday, May 1 from 12 to 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Coverage is also available to stream live on NBCSports.com and on the NBC Sports app.

Watch the 147th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 1 from 12 to 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Full coverage is also available on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.