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Ashland Stakes 2024 | Keeneland Replay [Kentucky Oaks]
Leslie's Rose (Casey Laughter)

Ashland Stakes 2024 | Keeneland Replay [Kentucky Oaks]

The Todd Pletcher-trained Leslie’s Rose won the 2024 Ashland Stakes (G1) at Keeneland Racetrack, a major prep race for the Kentucky Oaks (G1).

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Watch the race replay here:

The press release:

Whisper Hill Farm’s Leslie’s Rose took command in the upper stretch and drew off to a 3-length victory over champion Just F Y I to win the 87th running of the $598,750 Central Bank Ashland (G1) for 3-year-old fillies on a chilly Friday afternoon to open the 16-day Keeneland Spring Meet.

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Leslie’s Rose, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., completed the 1 1/16 miles on a fast Keeneland main track in 1:43.85. It is the third victory in the race for Pletcher, who won in 2021 with Malathaat and 2022 with Nest. Ortiz also rode Nest.

With the victory, Leslie’s Rose picked up 100 points and spot in the starting gate for the 150th running of the $1.5 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) to be run May 3 at Churchill Downs. The Oaks is limited to the top 14 point earners through a series of races on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. Just F Y I earned 50 points for running second.

Following the Central Bank Ashland, the cutoff line for the top 14 is 48 points with two races remaining in the series on Saturday: the Gazelle (G3) at Aqueduct and the Santa Anita Oaks (G2) at Santa Anita. Both races offer 200 points on a 100-50-25-15-10 scale to the first- through fifth-place finishers.

Halina’s Forte set the pace in the field of eight through early fractions of :24.35 and :48.27 while under token pressure from Impel to her outside. Leslie’s Rose saved ground behind the leaders.

On the final turn, Impel challenged for the lead while Leslie’s Rose, Jody’s Pride and Just F Y I began to close in. However, at the top of the stretch, Leslie’s Rose spurted clear and was not threatened in the run to the finish.

Purchased by Whisper Hill for $1.15 million at Keeneland’s 2022 September Sale, Leslie’s Rose is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Into Mischief out of the Galileo (IRE) mare Wildwood Rose (IRE). Now a winner of three of four starts, Leslie’s Rose has earnings of $467,800 that includes Friday’s $358,050 check.

Leslie Rose returned $20.90, $7.76 and $4.68. Just F Y I, ridden by Junior Alvarado, returned $5.18 and $3.30 and finished three-quarters of a length in front of Impel, who paid $3.28 to show under Florent Geroux.

It was another 1¼ lengths back to favored Candied, who was followed in order by Standoutsensation, Shimmering Allure, Jody’s Pride and Halina’s Forte.