Ashado pulled away late from Be Gentle down the stretch to win the $200,000 Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) on Friday afternoon at Saratoga by 1 1/2 lengths. The seven-furlong Spinaway, the first grade I stakes in North America for 2-year-old fillies, was run in 1:24.08.
Ashado, a daughter of Saint Ballado, also captured the Schuylerville Stakes (gr .II) at the Spa on the opening day of the meet, bookending a record-setting meet for trainer Todd Pletcher.
The dark bay or brown filly is now three-for-three and has earned $235,800. Her first two wins came over sloppy tracks. The Spinaway was contested over a fast surface.
Owned by Starlight Stable and Paul Saylor, Ashado is out of the Mari's Book mare Goulash and was bred in Kentucky by Aaron U. and Marie Jones. She was a $170,000 Keeneland September sale yearling.
"She's tough," said Pletcher, who previously won the Spinaway in 1999 with Circle of Life. "I thought it would be a little more competitive for the lead early, but she put herself in the game so quickly, it was just a matter of her having enough to hold of challengers through the lane.
"My biggest concern was that this filly is so lazy in the mornings that I didn't do enough with her. She had three works and they were all slow since the Schuylerville. Fortunately, she is one of those horses that know the difference between the morning and the afternoon."
Ashado, the third choice in the six-horse field, broke alertly under Edgar Prado, then was taken back just a bit and settled just off the pace set by Dixie Waltz. Dixie Waltz set splits of :22.46 and :45.52 before tiring on the turn for home. Ashado was just to her outside and easily grabbed the advantage turning for home.
In early stretch, Ashado was challenged by Be Gentle and Cornelio Velasquez, but Prado kept his filly to the task. She hit the eighth pole in 1:10.64 and then pulled away in the final 100 yards to secure the victory.
Prado was impressed with his mount's toughness.
"She was going nice and easy," Prado said. "She had no trouble stalking outside. I thought I let her go too early last time. That was the first time I was on her and I didn't know much about her. Today, I waited a little longer. She's very game, that's the main thing. Whenever that other filly (Be Gentle) took a run, my filly kept giving me a little more."
The favorite in the race, Odgen Mills Phipps' Daydreaming, ridden by John Velazquez, was pinched back slightly at the start and then was racing along the rail while behind the early leaders. She flattened out in the stretch and was a distant third. Second-choice Unbridled Beauty was fourth.
"(Velazquez) said she stumbled badly leaving the gate, and he thought that probably cost her any chance," said trainer Shug McGaughey. "When he picked her up, she was in the bridle, but this is still a learning stage for her. I'm disappointed she didn't run better. I didn't see her stumble, but I want to watch the head-on shot. The winner is a good filly and you can't take anything away from her."
Ashado paid $8.40, $4.80, and $2.80. Be Gentle returned $8.20 and $3.30 and Daydreaming paid $2.40 to show. The 3-4 exacta paid $63.50. The 3-4-6 trifecta returned $140.
Dixie Waltz and Stoic trailed, while America America and Charming Humor were scratched.