ASHLAND STAKES | PURSE: $500,000 | 3-YEAR-OLD | FILLIES | GRADE 1 | 1 1/16-MILES
In one of the most thrilling editions of the Central Bank Ashland Stakes, Rosalind and Room Service hit the wire together for a dead-heat atop the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies April 5 at Keeneland.
Rosalind used a sweeping move to seize the lead at the top of the stretch in the final Ashland to be run on the Polytrack, but she soon was engaged by Room Service and the two fillies dueled to the short-stretch wire to the thrill of the large Keeneland crowd.
Entered off the first stakes win of her career, a score in the Herecomesbride Stakes at Gulfstream Park, Gary and Mary West homebred Room Service earned her first Grade 1 victory. Landaluce Educe Stables' Rosalind, who finished second in last year's Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland, earned her first stakes win.
A daughter of Broken Vow , Rosalind is trained by Ken McPeek and was guided to victory by Joel Rosario. Wayne Catalano trains Room Service and Shaun Bridgmohan was in the irons. The victory marked the first Ashland win for Catalano and second for McPeek, who captured the race in 2002 with Take Charge Lady.
In Saturday's race, Istanford completed a taxing half-mile in :45.9 seconds to lead the field 13, at which point Rosalind raced tenth and Room Service 13th. Rosalind circled six wide and Room Service rallied behind her to challenge on the outside. Rosalind appeared to have the advantage in deep stretch by Room Service clearly was gaining and they raced together in the final strides.
The two dead-heat winners completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.38 on the Polytrack. Both trainers were good with the dead-heat victory.
"I thought it was a dead heat or that we won," McPeek said. "I said [while waiting for photo] that if it was a dead heat, I was good with it because [it is so important] to get a grade I win for a filly."
"From the angle I had, I thought it was very, very close and it looked like I got nosed out," Catalano said. "But when it took that long [to determine the winner] I said, 'OK, I'll settle for a dead heat now.'"
Stakes winner Thank You Marylou, in her first try at two turns, finished seven lengths back in third to earn her first grade I placing. Favorite Testa Rossi rallied from ninth to finish fourth in her first start on a synthetic surface.
Room Service paid $6.60 to win, $6.40 to place, and $4.20 to show while Rosalind returned $5, $4.40, and $3.40. Thank You Marylou returned $2.80 to show.
Catalano said he will talk to the Wests about a possible Kentucky Oaks start for Room Service, a daughter of More Than Ready . McPeek said Rosalind is being considered for the Kentucky Oaks and the Investec Epsom Oaks.
Room Service is one of three graded stakes winners for the stakes-winning Old Trieste mare Dream Lady, who also has produced Oscar Party and Major Gain. Rosalind is one of six winners, including stakes-placed American Diva, out of the Theatrical mare Critics Acclaim.