Stardom Bound, winner of last year’s Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) and reigning 2-year-old filly champion, headlines 120 nominees to Keeneland’s $400,000 Ashland Stakes (gr. I), scheduled for April 4.
Run at 1 1/16 miles, the Ashland is a premier prep for the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). Since 1936, 31 fillies have used the Ashland as a steppingstone to victory in the Oaks. Last year, Proud Spell rebounded to win the Oaks off a third-place finish in the Ashland. Ashland winner, Little Belle, ran second by three parts of a length in the Oaks.
Stardom Bound, who races in the colors of IEAH Stables, Paul Pompa Jr., Michael Dubb, and Golden Goose Enterprises LLC, won three grade I stakes in five starts at 2, including the Del Mar Debutante and Oak Leaf, in addition to the aforementioned Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies, and has earnings of more than $1.6 million. The gray daughter of Tapit captured the Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) in her 3-year-old debut on Feb. 7 at Santa Anita.
IEAH Stables, along with partners Gary Tolchin and Pegasus Holding Group Stables, also nominated Laragh, winner of the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) and Keeneland’s JPMorgan Chase Jessamine Stakes last fall.
Among the other accomplished 3-year-old fillies nominated to the Ashland are: Livin the Dream Racing’s Dream Empress and Puglisi Racing’s Sky Diva, who finished second and third, respectively, to Stardom Bound in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile; Halo Farms and Three Sisters Thoroughbreds’ Evita Argentina, winner of the San Vicente (gr. II); Lael Stables’ Frolic's Dream, winner of the Forward Gal (gr. II); and War Echo, winner of the Silverbulletday (gr. II).
A complete list of nominations to the 72nd Ashland is available at Keeneland.com.