LEXINGTON, KY – Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Madaket Stables’ Speech broke through for her first victory in seven months in Saturday’s $400,000 Central Bank Ashland Stakes (G1) at Keeneland.
Sent from the far outside post under Javier Castellano as the 4/1 third choice, Speech was forwardly-placed heading into the clubhouse turn and closely tracked the 3/5 favorite Venetian Harbor through the early running.
Ranging up to take the lead in the far turn, Speech emerged at the top of the stretch in command and drew off sharply when asked, leaving Venetian Harbor in her wake.
The Michael McCarthy trainee distanced herself by 3 lengths at the wire, completing the 1 1/16-mile fast main track event in a course-record time of 1:41.26.
Though no match for the winner in the stretch, Venetian Harbor was 3 3/4 lengths clear of Envoutante in third. Bonny South and Alta’s Award spent the entire race in fourth and fifth, respectively, and completed the order of finish the same way.
Tonalist’s Shape was scratched.
The Ashland is part of the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. Speech earned 100 points for the win, with Venetian Harbor receiving 40 for second, Envoutante 20 for third, and Bonny South 10 for fourth.
Speech’s win ended her string of 4 straight runner-up efforts and improved her overall record to 7-2-4-1. The 3-year-old Mr Speaker filly, purchased for $190,000, has now earned $353,840.
Speech returned $10 to win, $3 to place, and $2.20 to show. Venetian Harbor brought back $2.40 to place and $2.10 to show, while Envoutante paid $2.60 to show.