Stardom Bound, seeking her sixth consecutive grade I victory, was stunned by 24-1 shot Hooh Why in the $400,000 Ashland Stakes April 4 at Keeneland. The winner led from start to finish, and the 2008 champion finished third.
Ridden by Corey Lanerie, who was substituting for Rene Douglas who took off his mounts due to illness midway through the race card, Hooh Why assumed the early lead and set moderate fractions of :24.44 and :48.58 through the first half mile while being stalked by Be Fair and What a Pair. The winner continued to lead as they rounded the far turn, completing three-quarters of a mile in 1:12.78. Stardom Bound, meanwhile, was far back early as is her style and made up ground in the stretch but could not catch the winner as Gozzip Girl rallied to get second. The final time for 1 1/16 miles on the Polytrack was 1:43.80.
“I’m at a loss for words, really. It certainly wasn’t her 'A' game,” said jockey Mike Smith of Stardom Bound. “She got away slow, but she always does. Actually, it (the pace) was good for her. They were going slow, but she’s closed on a slow pace before.”
Jockey Robby Albarado rode Hooh Why in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) but chose to ride Nan in the Ashland. “He (Albarado) told me I’d love her and I surely did,” Lanerie said. “I was able to watch a replay of her last race. It looked like she ran a good race and just missed. I thought she had every chance in the world to get there (in the Ashland).”
Hooh Why paid $50.00, $15.40, and $6.20. Gozzip Girl returned $8.80 and $4.00, and Stardom Bound’s third was worth $2.10 to her backers in the crowd of 30,550, fifth-largest in Keeneland history.
Trained by Donna Dupuy for Derby Daze Farms and Mark Hoffman, Hooh Why is a daughter of the Mr. Prospector stallion Cloud Hopping, who had a $3,500 fee when the 3-year-old filly was conceived. Produced from the Corporate Report mare Magic Merger, Hooh Why was bred in Florida by Gail Gee, who is one of the co-owners of the filly.
Hooh Why has won three of nine career starts and earned $441,335.
Dupuy was the first trainer for Hooh Why when the filly broke her maiden in her first career start at Arlington Park in July 2008. Shipped to Presque Isle Downs with trainer Michael Reavis, Hooh Why had a fourth and second in two starts over that artificial surface before going to Woodbine. Racing over the artificial track in Canada, Hooh Why was third in the Glorious Song before finishing second to Patena while racing against males in the Display Stakes. Shipped to Tampa Bay Downs and trainer Kathy Guciardo, the filly was third in the Sandpiper before being shipped cross-country to California and Carla Gaines. Racing in the Sunshine Millions Oaks at Santa Anita, Hooh Why finished second and then ran third to Stardom Bound in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I).
Gee, whose daughter is in the U.S. Army, said the filly’s name was inspired by an Army term. She said barring any post-race problems Hooh Why will be pointed toward the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).