Sumaya U.S. Stables' Malagacy produced an auspicious debut performance Jan. 4 in the seventh race at Gulfstream Park—one that even caught trainer Todd Pletcher somewhat by surprise. The 3-year-old Shackleford colt scored by 15 lengths under Javier Castellano over a muddy track.
"He's trained well but you never necessarily expect one to blow the field away like that. He obviously took to the track. The break's key in these kinds of races and he was sharp away from there. He looked good," Pletcher said.
Malagacy broke alertly in the 5 1/2-furlong sprint, assuming the lead leaving the backstretch and extending his lead to the finish line, timed in 1:03.60.
"We didn't expect to be on the lead necessarily but we expected to leave there running," Pletcher said. "That's what we wanted to do. A 5 1/2 (-furlong) race on a wet track, you don't want to take back and dirt school him."
Malagacy was bred by John Trumbulovic in Kentucky out of the Dehere mare Classiest Gem. He was a $190,000 purchase by agent Steven Young from the De Meric Sales consignment to the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale.
Sumaya U.S. is the stable name for Oussama Aboughazale's string; Aboughazale's International Equities Holding Co. made headlines Dec. 3 as the owner of the first reported foal by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah .