The 3-year-old fillies who are the respective first- and second-leading point earners on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks (G1) – recent Rachel Alexandra (G2) winner Monomoy Girl and champion Caledonia Road –– headline the nominees for the $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1) on April 7, opening Saturday of Keeneland’s 2018 Spring Meet.
The 1 1/16-mile Central Bank Ashland has produced 33 winners of the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs, most recently Lovely Maria in 2015 and Cathryn Sophia in 2016. The Central Bank Ashland awards 100 points to the winner on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. The next three finishers received 40 points, 20 points and 10 points, respectively.
Click here for a list of 82 Central Bank Ashland nominees and their past performances. Post positions for the Central Bank Ashland and the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G2), also held on April 7, will be drawn Tuesday, April 3.
Monomoy Girl, who races for Monomoy Stables and Michael Dubb, won the Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds on Feb. 17 to open her 2018 campaign. Brad Cox trains the Tapizar filly, purchased at Keeneland’s 2016 September Yearling Sale. In 2017 at Churchill, Monomoy Girl took the Rags to Riches Stakes and was second in the Golden Rod (G2).
Caledonia Road, also purchased at the 2016 September Sale, won the 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) and received the Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old filly. Ralph Nicks trains the daughter of Quality Road for owners Zoom and Fish Stable, Charlie Spiring and Newtown Anner Stud.
The six leading point earners on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks are nominated to the Central Bank Ashland. Following Monomoy Girl and Caledonia Road on the ranking are Gary Barber’s Demoiselle (G2) and Mazarine (G3) winner Wonder Gadot; Phoenix Thoroughbred III’s undefeated Grade 1 winner Dream Tree, who won the Las Virgenes (G2) on Feb. 4; Carl R. Moore Management’s Rachel Alexandra runner-up Classy Act; and Craig D. Upham’s Pocahontas (G2) winner Patrona Margarita.
Other notable 2018 stakes winners nominated to the Central Bank Ashland are Peter Deutsch’s Forward Gal (G3) winner Take Charge Paula; Fern Circle Stables’ Silverbulletday winner Stronger Than Ever; Sandra Sexton and Brandi Nicholson’s Martha Washington winner Red Ruby; William B. Willmot and Joan M. Taylor’s Busanda winner Midnight Disguise; William Pacella, Frank L. Jones and Frank Shoop’s Suncoast winner C. S. Incharge; Novogratz Racing Stables’ undefeated Dixie Belle Stakes winner Amy’s Challenge; and Ciaglia Racing and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Paved, who defeated colts to win the El Camino Real Derby.
Central Bank Ashland nominees also include Debby M. Oxley’s Heavenly Love, winner of Keeneland’s Darley Alcibiades (G1) last October.
Mark Casse, who trains Wonder Gadot and Heavenly Love, leads all trainers by nominees, with six.
The late nomination period for the Central Bank Ashland closes Wednesday, March 21.
Keeneland’s 16-day Spring Meet opens Friday, April 6, and concludes Friday, April 27, with racing Wednesday through Sunday. Post time for the first race each day is 1:05 p.m. ET.
The Central Bank Ashland and Toyota Blue Grass anchor an exciting 11-race card April 7 with five stakes worth $2.25 million. Other stakes are the $300,000 Madison (G1) for fillies and mares at 7 furlongs on the dirt; $200,000 Shakertown (G2) for 3-year-olds and up at 5½ furlongs on the turf; and $250,000 Commonwealth (G3) for older horses at 7 furlongs on the dirt.
That day, Keeneland will offer a $400,000-guaranteed All-Stakes Pick Four and a $300,000-guaranteed All Stakes Pick Five.
Post time for the Central Bank Ashland is 5:45 p.m. Post time for the Toyota Blue Grass is 6:23 p.m.