An Early 2022 Breeders’ Cup Distaff Tale of the Tape: Nest and Malathaat

Nest (left) and Malathaat give Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher a potent pair of contenders for the Nov. 5 Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic as they will both enter the race off of dominant wins. (Eclipse Sportswire/Coady Photography)

The fields for the 14 races that comprise the Breeders’ Cup World Championships really begin to come into focus in summer and fall and this regular feature will offer a snapshot profile of one of the previous weekend’s standout stars.

nest Vs. Malathaat

Trainer: Todd Pletcher

Owners: Repole Stables, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, and Michael House (Nest), Shadwell Stable (Malathaat)

Jockeys: Irad Ortiz, Jr. (Nest), John Velazquez (Malathaat)

Race Records: 10 starts – 7 wins – 2 seconds – 1 third (Nest), 13 starts - 9 wins – 3 seconds – 1 third (Malathaat)

Earnings: $1,873,050 (Nest), $2,750,825 (Malathaat)

Marquee Wins in 2022: Central Bank Ashland Stakes, Coaching Club American Oaks, Alabama Stakes (Nest), Personal Ensign Stakes, Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (Malathaat)

Pedigrees: Curlin – Marion Ravenwood, by A.P. Indy (Nest), Curlin – Dreaming of Julia, by A.P. Indy (Malathaat)

This week, we’ll expand the scope and take a look at two star fillies on target for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff from the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher.

Nest dominated four opponents as the 1-20 favorite shortly before 2 p.m. ET Oct. 9 in the $242,500 Beldame Stakes at the Belmont at the Big A meeting. Almost exactly four hours later, Malathaat punched her ticket to the $2 million Longines Distaff with a win in the $600,000 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keeneland Race Course. Nest and Malathaat combine to give Pletcher an extraordinarily potent pair for this year’s Distaff.

The two talented fillies share much in common:

  • Both are bay fillies purchased by their current owners at the Keeneland September yearling sale. Malathaat sold for $1,050,000 in 2019 and Nest sold for $350,000 in 2020.
  • Both are by two-time Horse of the Year Curlin out of stakes-winning mares by 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy, a breed-shaping sire.
  • Both were outstanding 2-year-olds who won the Demoiselle Stakes in their third start and went on to major accomplishments as 3-year-olds. Nest finished second against males in the 2022 Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets before winning the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks and Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga; Malathaat won the 2021 Longines Kentucky Oaks at age 3 en route to an Eclipse Award.
  • Neither has ever finished outside the top three and they boast remarkably similar records. Nest has amassed seven wins, two seconds, and one third from 10 starts; Malathaat, with an extra year of racing, has nine wins, three seconds, and one third from 13 races.
  • Nest has three Grade 1 wins entering this year’s Distaff, in which she very likely will vie for favoritism with stablemate Malathaat. Malathaat also had three Grade 1 wins last year entering the 2021 Distaff as the favorite – she finished third by a half-length – and she has five Grade 1 wins now.

The similarities don’t stop there, however, as their running styles, preferences, and speed figures also are comparable.

Both typically prefer to stalk or press the pace.

Nest has three wins and one second at the 1 1/8-mile distance of the Distaff and won her lone start at Keeneland. Malathaat has amassed four wins, two seconds, and one third in seven 1 1/8-mile races and is 3-for-3 at Keeneland.


Last Four Beyer Speed Figures

Last Four Equibase Speed Figures







As you can see, it’s very difficult to separate the two in this “Tale of the Tape” exercise.

Clairiere, who defeated Malathaat twice earlier this season in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Stakes and Grade 2 Shuvee Stakes, looks like the prime challenger to Nest and Malathaat. Interestingly, Clairiere also is by Curlin. However, Clairiere was beaten by 9 ½ lengths by Malathaat in the Personal Ensign Stakes in her most recent start, has never raced at Keeneland, and is only 1-for-5 at 1 1/8 miles with all three of her unplaced finishes in 15 lifetime starts coming at that distance. Granted, she was fourth in the 2021 Kentucky Oaks in one of them and fourth by a half-length in last year’s Distaff.

Pletcher should be very tough to beat in the Distaff and it’s really impossible to separate his two talented contenders. At this point I give the slightest of edges to the 4-year-old filly Malathaat knowing that she loves Keeneland, is in great form, and figures to be a little fresher with only five starts this year. The Distaff should be a fantastic race.

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