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Racing

Champion Just F Y I Heads Field of Eight for Friday’s Central Bank Ashland on Opening Day of Keeneland Spring Meet

George Krikorian’s undefeated champion Just F Y I will make her 2024 debut Friday when she headlines a field of eight 3-year-old fillies entered Monday for the 87th running of the $600,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1) going 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

Scheduled as the ninth race on Friday’s 10-race program with a 5:16 p.m. ET post time, the Central Bank Ashland is the first Grade 1 race of 2024 for the 3-year-old filly division and offers 200 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks, a $1.5 million race to be run May 3 at Churchill Downs.

Points will be awarded on a 100-50-25-15-10 scale to the first- through fifth-place finishers. The Oaks is limited to the top 14 point earners.

Trained by Bill Mott, who won the Central Bank Ashland in 2013 with Emollient, Just F Y I capped her 2023 campaign with a narrow victory in the NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Santa Anita. Prior to that, she won the Frizette (G1).

Junior Alvarado, who has been aboard for all of Just F Y I’s starts, has the mount Friday coming out of post six.

Chief among Just F Y I’s rivals Friday are the 2-3 finishers from the Breeders’ Cup in Parkland Thoroughbreds and Sportsmen Stable’s Jody’s Pride and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Candied plus Juddmonte’s undefeated Impel.

Trained by Jorge Abreu, Jody’s Pride has won three of four starts with her lone defeat being a runner-up finish to Just F Y I in the Breeders’ Cup. In her lone start of 2024, Jody’s Pride won the Busher (L) at Aqueduct going a mile on March 2. Flavien Prat has the mount from post eight.

Candied is trained by two-time Central Bank Ashland winner Todd Pletcher. Winner of the Darley Alcibiades (G1) here last fall prior to the Breeders’ Cup, Candied will be making her 2024 debut Friday and exit post one under Luis Saez. Pletcher won the race in 2021 with Malathaat and in 2022 with Nest.

Impel is trained by Brad Cox, who won the 2018 Central Bank Ashland with Monomoy Girl. Impel made her debut New Year’s Day with a 3¼-length victory going 6 furlongs at Fair Grounds. She followed that with an 8½-length allowance victory going a mile and a sixteenth at Oaklawn Park on March 3. Florent Geroux has the mount from post seven.

The field of the Central Bank Ashland, with riders from the rail out, is: Candied (Saez), Standoutsensation (Edgar Morales), Leslie’s Rose (Irad Ortiz Jr.), Halina’s Forte (Tyler Gaffalione), Shimmering Allure (Brian Hernandez Jr.), Just F Y I (Alvarado), Impel (Geroux) and Jody’s Pride (Prat). All starters will carry 121 pounds.