January 27, 2021

Five line up in Remsen; Malathaat favored in Demoiselle

Pickin' Time
Pickin' Time wins the Nashua Stakes (Coglianese Photos/Chelsea Durand)

Remsen Stakes — Race 4 (1 p.m. ET)

He was caught well before the wire going a furlong shorter in last month’s Nashua (G3), but Ten for Ten‘s speed could prove more advantageous in Saturday’s $150,000 Remsen Stakes (G2) as the son of Frosted will face only four rivals in the 1 1/8-mile Aqueduct fixture for 2-year-olds.

The first of four graded stakes on the “Big A” program, the Remsen will also award 2021 Kentucky Derby (G1) qualifying points of 10-4-2-1 to the top four finishers.

A wire-to-wire maiden winner in the slop two back, Ten for Ten was favored in the one-mile Nashua on Nov. 8 and led until upper stretch when run down by 9-1 chance Pickin’ Time. Although he stretches out here, Ten for Ten might not have much company on the front end and need not set as fast a pace as he did in the Nashua.

“He acts like he’s a pretty nice horse. It will be interesting seeing him go a mile and an eighth. He’s quick so we’ll see how he does on Saturday. He should be able to place himself well,” trainer Shug McGaughey said.

In addition to Pickin’ Time, New York-bred stakes winner Brooklyn Strong, and Maryland shipper Erawan, the field also includes the promising Known Agenda, a son of Curlin and Vanity H. (G1) heroine Byrama. The Todd Pletcher trainee graduated at second asking going 9 furlongs on the Nashua undercard, but only by a head after a prolonged stretch duel.

“We always felt that he was a two-turn horse and is bred to be one,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “Especially that opening week, it seemed like the track was extra demanding. The fact that he was able to handle it on that deep of a surface is encouraging.”

Demoiselle Stakes — Race 9 (3:44 p.m. ET)

A bulkier field of 2-year-old fillies will compete in the $150,000 Demoiselle Stakes (G2), also over 1 1/8 miles. The top four finishers will earn 2021 Kentucky Oaks (G1) qualifying points of 10-4-2-1, respectively.

Malathaat enters the Demoiselle 2-for-2, including a 7 3/4-length domination of the Tempted S. over a mile on Nov. 6. The regally-bred filly is sure to stretch out being by Curlin and out of Dreaming of Julia.

“She’s always trained like a quality filly that wants two turns, so we’re excited about stretching her out,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “This filly has been a star from day one basically.”

Although a distant third in the Tempted, Cafe Society is another who might relish two turns being a daughter of the late Empire Maker, who won the Wood Memorial (G2) over this track and trip before taking the Belmont S. (G1).

“I was disappointed in her last race, but she’s come back and trained well,” trainer Shug McGaughey said.

In addition to Malathaat, two other daughters of Curlin bear watching. Millefeuille and Malibu Curl were both smart maiden winners in their respective last outings, Millefeuille over a mile at Belmont in late October and Malibu Curl over 7 furlongs at Saratoga on Labor Day weekend.