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Keeneland Spring Meet Opens with Favored Nest Much the Best in Central Bank Ashland to Punch Her Kentucky Oaks Ticket

April 8, 2022

Repole Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Michael House’s Nest swept past Interstatedaydream at the top of the stretch and drew off to post an 8¼-length victory in the 85thrunning of the $600,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1) for 3-year-old fillies to highlight the opening day of the 15-day Keeneland Spring Meet. 

Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Nest covered the mile and a sixteenth on a muddy main track in 1:44.16. The victory is the second in the race for Pletcher, who won last year with eventual champion Malathaat. Pletcher, Keeneland’s all-time leader in stakes victories with 60, becomes the fourth trainer to win the race in consecutive years. 

With the victory, Nest earned 100 points and locked up a starting position in the gate for the $1.25 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) to be run May 6 at Churchill Downs. The Oaks is limited to the top 14 point earners that pass the entry box and with 120 points, Nest sits comfortably in third. 

Cocktail Moments rallied to edge Interstatedaydream by a nose for second and picked up 40 points for finishing second, a total that ranks 10th on the leaderboard. Interstatedaydream earned 20 points for finishing third, good for 18th place, and Awake At Midnyte added 10 points to boost her Oaks total to 24 to be 14th on the list. 

Interstatedaydream led the field through fractions of :24.24 and :48.82 while being tracked by Happy Soul with Awake At Midnyte and Nest lurking just behind the top two. The leaders remained unchanged going into the far turn but were quickly joined by Awake At Midnyte in the three path and Nest, who was four wide. 

The leading quartet was reduced to a duo nearing the head of the lane. By the time the field turned for home, it was a one horse race with no one doubting the outcome. 

Nest, a Keeneland sales graduate, is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Curlin out of the A.P. Indy mare Marion Ravenwood. Now a winner of four of five career starts, Nest added $358,050 to her bankroll and increased her earnings to $623,050. 

Favored in the field of eight, Nest returned $5.40, $3.80 and $2.60. Cocktail Moments, ridden by Corey Lanerie, returned $7 and $3.60 with Interstatedaydream paying $2.40 to show under Florent Geroux. 

It was another 2¾ lengths back to Awake At Midnyte with Sterling Silver, Happy Soul, Miss Mattie B and Heavenly Hellos following in order. 
 

Sy Dog rallies from last to win Kentucky Utilities Transylvania

In the race preceding the Central Bank Ashland, Head of Plains Partners’ Sy Dog roared past Coinage at the eighth pole and went to score a three-quarters of a length victory in the 34th running of the $400,000 Kentucky Utilities Transylvania (G3) for 3-year-olds. 

Trained by Graham Motion and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Sy Dog covered the mile and a sixteenth over a turf course rated as good in 1:45.38. It is the first Transylvania victory for Motion and Ortiz. 

Credibility led stablemate Coinage through fractions of :24.85 and :50.16 as Sy Dog raced at the back of the six-horse field. On the far turn, Coinage took over but was immediately challenged by Verbal while Sy Dog began to close in. 

In the stretch, Sy Dog collared the leaders with a three-wide move and quickly drew clear as Grand Sonata rallied along the rail to get up in time to grab second place. 

Sy Dog, now undefeated in three starts, is a Kentucky-bred son of Slumber (GB) out of the Scat Daddy mare My Love Venezuela. The victory was worth $244,900 and increased his earnings to $349,400. 

Sy Dog returned $13.40, $4.80 and $3.40. Grand Sonata, ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, returned $4.20 and $3 and finished a half-length ahead of Coinage, who paid $3.20 to show under Luis Saez. 

Napoleonic War finished another neck back in fourth and was followed in order by favored Verbal and Credibility. 

Old Homestead scores 9-1 upset in Lafayette

Marablue Farm and Pegasus Stud’s Old Homestead grabbed the lead shortly after the start and cruised to a 3 3/4-length victory over Surfer Dude to win the 74th running of the $400,000 Lafayette for 3-year-olds to open stakes action Friday afternoon. 

Trained by Brett Brinkman and ridden by Tommy Pompell, Old Homestead covered the 7 furlongs on a muddy main track in 1:22.98. It is the first Keeneland stakes victory for both Brinkman and Pompell and is Pompell’s first Keeneland victory since the 2010 Fall Meet. 

Old Homestead quickly took the lead and with Surfer Dude raced clear of the field in the run down the backstretch through fractions of :22.55 and :45.97. 

On the far turn, Old Homestead began to widen his advantage, and at the top of the lane no threats emerged as he coasted to the victory. 

The victory was worth $169,725 and increased Old Homestead’s earnings to $212,325 with three victories in three starts. Old Homestead won his first two races going 5 furlongs at Delta Downs by a combined 17¼ lengths with Pompell aboard. 

Old Homestead is a Florida-bred son of Overanalyze out of the Songandaprayer mare Pearl de Vere. He returned $21.80, $13.20 and $9.80. Surfer Dude, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., returned $13.60 and $9.20. Osbourne and Tyler Gaffalione were another length back in third and returned $10 to show. 

Favored My Prankster was another length back in fourth and was followed in order by Money Supply, American Xperiment, Magnolia Midnight, All in Sync, Ignitis, Unified Report, Tejano Twist and Barossa. 

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Racing continues Saturday with an 11-race program that begins at 12:30 p.m. ET and features five graded stakes headlined by the 98th running of the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G1), a major prep for the Triple Crown. The Toyota Blue Grass is the ninth race with a 5:10 p.m. post time.