The Ashland Stakes (gr. I), one of the premier races during the spring meet at Keeneland in Lexington, will be sponsored by Central Bank when it is run April 3, 2010.
According to a Dec. 22 release from Keeneland, Central Bank will be the signature sponsor of the 1 1/ 16-mile race for 3-year-olds fillies that is a traditional prep for the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). According to Keeneland, 31 Oaks winners prepped in the Ashland since 1936, most recently Proud Spell, winner of the 2008 Oaks after finishing third in the Ashland.
“Central Bank is a respected leader in the commonwealth and a special member of the Keeneland family,” Rogers Beasley, Keeneland’s director of racing, said of the Lexington-based banking company in a release. “We value their continued commitment to the Thoroughbred industry, and look forward to exploring ways to grow our partnership, particularly with regard to community involvement.”
“Keeneland occupies a very special place in the minds of racing fans throughout Kentucky,” said Central Bank chairman, president, and chief executive officer Luther Deaton Jr. “We are very pleased to add this premier event to our excellent relationship with Keeneland by sponsoring the Ashland Stakes.”
According to Keeneland, the forerunner of the Ashland Stakes was the Ashland Oaks, originated at the old Kentucky Association track. The race for 3-year-old fillies began in 1879 and was run every year through at least 1926, with the exception of 1897-1912.
Brownell Combs’ champion Myrtlewood won the first running of the Ashland Stakes when it was inaugurated at Keeneland’s first race meeting in 1936. The race was open to fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, during its first two editions in 1936-37. After a two-year hiatus, the race was revived in 1940 as a race restricted to 3-year-old fillies.
Previous winners of the Ashland include Madcap Escapade, Take Charge Lady, Silverbulletday, Go for Wand, Princess Rooney, Optimistic Gal, Real Delight, and Doubledogdare.
Central Bank previously sponsored Keeneland’s Transylvania Stakes (gr. III) from 2005- 2009.