Emollient dominates Ashland Stakes
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP)
Running on just a week's rest proved to be easy for Emollient, who bounced back for a nine-length domination of Saturday's Ashland Stakes at Keeneland.
Racing within that short a period is rare in the sport, and Juddmonte Farms manager Garrett O'Rourke said that was considered with Emollient.
But the reward of making the Kentucky Oaks and the belief that she was better than last Saturday's fifth-place effort in the Gulfstream Oaks made it worth taking the chance on a quick turnaround.
Emollient made the decision pay off in the $500,000 stakes race. Ridden by Mike Smith, the 3-year-old filly took the lead from the far 13th post and didn't let up after setting the pace near the rail at the first turn.
''With the 13 (post), you never know how they're going to break,'' Mott assistant Rodolphe Brisset said. ''You never know if you're going to have pressure, but we knew what she could do and I guess she showed everybody today.''
The Kentucky bred ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.49 and returned $14.40, $8.40 and 5.80.
''We didn't have to do it, but it was a calculated risk,'' O'Rourke said. ''It was a Grade 1 race, it's the home track and we felt like it was a race that would suit her all along anyway. Obviously, she just never showed up last week for whatever reason.
''Now, if it was an allowance race, we wouldn't have taken the chance. She's done her end of the deal, so we'll give her a nice rest now and we've got a filly for the Oaks.''
Tuttipaesi paid $5.80 and $4.40, while Kitten's Point paid $5.20 to show.
Emollient's second victory this year and third in six career starts earned $300,000 and 100 points toward qualifying for the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs in Louisville on May 3. Trained by Bill Mott, she entered the day with just four points in the standings.
What shocked Smith was how quickly Emollient got out from the far post and put the field behind her, pouring it on down the stretch.
''I knew there was a time or two where she showed she could perform like this,'' Smith said. ''Last time was rather disappointing and for Bill to wheel her right back, I knew there was a reason and I guess it showed today.''
Favorite Spring In The Air, who won last fall's Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades Stakes here, finished ninth.