LEXINGTON, KY (April 9, 2016) – Ashbrook Farm’s Weep No More rallied from far off the pace to win Saturday’s 79th running of the $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1) for 3-year-old fillies by a neck over Rachel’s Valentina, with previously undefeated favorite Cathryn Sophia another neck back in third.
Trained by Rusty Arnold and ridden by Corey Lanerie, Weep No More covered the 1 1/16 miles on a fast main track in 1:43.57. The victory was worth $300,000 and increased Weep No More’s earnings to $342,269 with a record of 4-3-0-0.
It was the second victory in the race for Arnold, who saddled Karlovy Vary to win the 2012 running and also the second for Lanerie, who won on Hooh Why in 2009.
Weep No More, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Mineshaft out of the Storm Cat mare Crosswinds and a Keeneland sales graduate (click here for footage of her in the sales ring during the 2014 Keeneland September Yearling Sale), also locked up a spot in the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 6 at Churchill Downs by earning 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. The top 14 point earners that pass the entry box for the Oaks will make up the field for the 1 1/8-mile race.
The Oaks is limited to the top 14 point-earners that pass the entry box. Weep No More’s Oaks points were the first she has earned. Rachel’s Valentina picked up 40 points to boost her total to 48, Cathryn Sophia added 20 points to hike her total to 80 and Carina Mia added 10, giving her 20 points.
Carina Mia, ridden by Julien Leparoux, led the field into the first turn with Rachel’s Valentina to her outside about a length back and Cathryn Sophia tucked in next to the rail.
The trio race in that order through fractions of :24.18, :47.24 and 1:11.02 as Weep No More lagged behind the field.
On the far turn, Rachel’s Valentina with Florent Geroux up, moved on even terms with Carina Mia as did Cathryn Sophia and Javier Castellano making a three-wide move. The trio raced as a team to the upper stretch where Carina Mia was the first to back out.
Cathryn Sophia and Rachel’s Valentina waged their own personal duel into deep stretch only to have Weep No More sweep past them both in the final yards.
Weep No More, the second longest chance in the field of five, returned $62.20, $12.40 and $3.20. Rachel’s Valentina returned $4.80 and $2.20 and Cathryn Sophia paying $2.10 to show.
Carina Mia finished two lengths back in fourth with Banree fifth.
Quotes for the $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1)
Rusty Arnold (winning trainer of Weep No More)
“I thought she’d be that far back, and I told her (my wife, Sarah) about the half-mile pole, ‘I think she can get up for third from here.’ She just kept going, and they backed up a little bit. It was nice for the (owner) Bromagens, and we’ve been pointing for this race for two months.”
On her keys to big improvement
“Two turns, and she just came around. Each race she’s been better and better. Did we expect this? Not quite, but she’s a step ahead of us.
“We’ve got the mile and eighth in the (Kentucky) Oaks (G1) coming up. Jack Bohannan did all the work with her. She was under quarantine at Payson, and he trained her two months. Great job.”
Corey Lanerie (winning rider)
“At the top of the lane, to be honest, I didn’t think I would get up. I was rolling, I had a lot of horse, but with the short stretch, I was hoping to be third. Then about 70 yards from the wire, I was like, ‘C’mon baby – we can get it.’ She kept running and ran a huge race. Thanks to Rusty and them for the opportunity. What a great training job. He gave me all the confidence in the world, just to ride her, let her run her race and see what happens.”
Florent Geroux (rider of runner-up Rachel’s Valentina)
“I had a great trip. Cathryn Sophia came to me a little bit earlier than what I wanted her to, but it’s part of the game; it’s a race. (Weep No More) came from nowhere and just nailed us right at the end.”
Javier Castellano (rider of third-place finisher and beaten favorite Cathryn Sophia)
“It was a perfect trip; it was what I was looking for today. You have to be prepared (to duel with a good horse). It was her first time going two turns – I don’t know how far she likes to go. She will move forward after this race. She tried. Today was a good test.”
John Servis (trainer of Cathryn Sophia)
“The jockey said she did everything easy. He doesn’t know if she wants to go this far. I was fine (with the stretch duel), I know how gutsy she is. I really got worried when I saw (Weep No More) running through the lane. Reminded me of Birdstone (who defeated Servis’ Triple Crown hopeful Smarty Jones in the 2004 Belmont-G1) a little bit.”
Julien Leparoux (rider of fourth-place finisher Carina Mia)
“(The trip) was good. She was on the lead and just got tired. She was coming off a long layoff but she tried. She ran good.”
On whether he planned to go to the lead
“We didn’t really have a plan, (the race) just came up like this. We had a great post so I just kind of let her break and (saw) where she wanted to be. She just got tired at the end.”