May 18, 2024

Leslie’s Rose punches ticket to Kentucky Oaks with Ashland victory

Leslie's Rose rolled by three lengths in the Ashland (Photo by Coady Photography)

The lessons learned from her first career loss in the March 2 Davona Dale (G2) put Leslie’s Rose in good stead for Friday’s $598,750 Ashland (G1) at Keeneland, which she won comfortably by three lengths over the previously unbeaten juvenile filly champion Just F Y I.

Favored at 3-10 in the one-mile Davona Dale at Gulfstream following maiden and allowance wins, Leslie’s Rose attempted to rally up the inside but instead wound up taking a lot of dirt in the face while finishing third.

“She got a good education and it was the first time she had been in that scenario,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “We didn’t lose any confidence in her.”

The loss, however, swayed bettors away from Leslie’s Rose in Keeneland’s spring meet opening day feature. Sent off at 9-1 under Irad Ortiz Jr., Leslie’s Rose saved ground in third down the backside as Halina’s Forte set the pace, chased closely by second choice Impel.

Impel took a brief lead approaching the stretch but could not withstand Leslie’s Rose, who was tipped three wide turning for home and motored to victory in a time of 1:43.85 over a fast track. Owned by Whisper Hill Farm, Leslie’s Rose paid $20.90.

Just F Y I, making her first start since winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) in November after scratching from the Davona Dale due to illness, rallied for second, three parts of a length ahead of second choice Impel. Candied, stablemate to Leslie’s Rose, finished fourth as the 8-5 favorite, and was followed by Standoutsensation, Shimmering Allure, Jody’s Pride, and Halina’s Forte.

Leslie’s Rose earned 100 qualifying points toward the Kentucky Oaks (G1), boosting her total to 115. Just F Y I secured 50 points and now has 90, while Impel earned 25 points in what was her stakes debut. Candied increased her total by 15 to 34, and Standoutsensation garnered 10 points.

Bred in Kentucky by John Gunther and Eurowest Bloodstock Services, Leslie’s Rose sold for $1.15 million as a Keeneland September yearling. By Into Mischief, she is out of a Wildwood Rose, a Galileo half-sister to Florida Derby (G1) winner Materiality and the Grade 2-winning producer My Miss Sophia, runner-up in the 2014 Kentucky Oaks.

The three-year-old Neat has developed into an excellent turf horse, and proved it again with a nose victory over Cugino in the $397,263 Transylvania (G3).

Overlooked at 13-1 despite having won his last three grass starts by open lengths, Neat overcame some early rankness to win with an inside rally under Reylu Gutierrez. Lagynos, a 31-1 longshot, finished a half-length behind Cugino in third, while 3-1 favorite Musical Act weakened to fifth in the field of 12 after making the lead early down the backside.

Neat, a son of Constitution, covered 1 1/16 miles on firm ground in 1:44.93 and paid $28.82 for owner Red White and Blue Racing and trainer Rob Atras. This was his fourth win in six starts and has now won two stakes, the first being the Jan. 27 Texas Turf Mile at Sam Houston.

In the $320,050 Lafayette S. for three-year-old sprinters, the Iowa-bred Glengarry ran his six rivals off their feet, leading throughout for a 3 1/2-length triumph under Luis Saez. The gray son of Maximum Mischief sped seven furlongs in 1:22.91.

The Ohio-bred star Who Dey finished second in what was his first career loss in five starts, with 49-1 outsider Frosty Indulgence grabbing third. Doncho, the 6-5 choice, ran fifth.

Owned by Aaron Kennedy, Toby Joseph, and trainer Doug Anderson, Glengarry has now won four of five starts. Last season, he captured Iowa Cradle at Prairie Meadows and the Bowman’s Mill S. at Keeneland before finishing second in the Remington Springboard Mile.