July 14, 2024

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies top three meet again in Ashland

Just F Y I defeats Jody's Pride in Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita (Photo by Horsephotos.com)

The ever popular spring meet at Keeneland begins Friday with a trio of stakes carded, the most important being the $600,000 Ashland (G1) for three-year-old fillies, one of the final Road to the Kentucky Oaks series preps for 2024.

Contested over one lap of Keeneland’s 1 1/16-mile main track, the Ashland features a rematch between the top three finishers from the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Santa Anita in November, but a stakes newcomer is also expected to garner plenty of support.

Just F Y I, who captured the Juvenile Fillies and the division title by a diminishing neck over Jody’s Pride, makes her belated season debut Friday after a fever forced her withdrawal from last month’s Davona Dale (G2) at Gulfstream Park. Jody’s Pride, meanwhile, has had the benefit of an interim start, a 2 1/4-length win in the Busanda S. at Aqueduct in early March.

The third of the Breeders’ Cup trio is Candied, who finished less than a length behind that pair in California. She, too, enters the Ashland without the benefit of a prep, but has winning track-and-distance experience, having captured the Alcibiades (G1) last October.

Impel is the aforementioned stakes newcomer. A Juddmonte homebred trained by Brad Cox, Impel scored on debut by 3 1/4 lengths going six furlongs at Fair Grounds on New Year’s Day, and then two months later drew off to an 8 1/2-length allowance win at Oaklawn going 1 1/16 miles.

Also among the field of eight are Leslie’s Rose, who endured her first loss in three outings when third as the odds-on Davona Dale choice; stakes winner Shimmering Allure, a distant third in the Busanda last out; Halina’s Forte, last seen taking the seven-furlong Ruthless S. at Aqueduct in mid-February; and the allowance-class Standoutsensation.

The Ashland offers Kentucky Oaks (G1) qualifying points of 100-50-25-15-10 to the respective top five finishers.

The undercard is enhanced by a pair of stakes for three-year-olds, the $400,000 Transylvania (G3) at 1 1/16 miles on the turf and the $400,000 Lafayette S. at seven furlongs on the main track.

The full field in the Transylvania includes Can Group, victorious over the course last fall in the Bourbon (G2); Kitten’s Joy (G3) winner First World War; Texas Turf Mile victor Neat; and the imported Musical Act, a homebred for Godolphin.

Doncho and Booth figure to attract much of the play in the Lafayette, though a couple colts hailing from the regional breeding programs of Iowa and Ohio will have some claims. Iowa-bred Glengarry was a stakes winner at Keeneland last October, while Ohio-bred Who Dey is undefeated from four starts.