J. Paul Reddam's Elloluv, the second-best filly on the West Coast, shipped into Keeneland on Saturday to post a mild upset over previously undefeated Lady Tak in the grade I, $551,750 Ashland Stakes (gr. I).
Ridden by Robby Albarado, Elloluv was sent to the front early in the 1 1/16-mile Ashland and never looked back, holding off a mild stretch challenge from lady Tak. Elloluv, in receipt of three pounds from 123-pound highweight Lady Tak, set fractions of :24 3/5, :48 3/5, and 1:12 2/5 while being pursued by longshot Holiday Lady through the first three-quarters of a mile.
Lady Tak, the 6-5 favorite in the seven-horse field on the basis of five victories in as many starts, was taken off the rail and into the center of the track rounding the second turn into the stretch and mounted a challenge to the leader. But Elloluv drew off to a convincing 3 3/4-length win in final time of 1:43 3/5.
Elloluv, a daughter of Gilded Time -- Currency Quest (by Cryptoclearance) trained by Craig Dollase, paid $6.20, $2.80, $2.20. Lady Tak was worth $3.00 and $2.40, as Holiday Lady held on for third, returning $4.00.
"She broke really sharp and so I let her run a little," Albarado said. "I was surprised that nobody came up and challenged her. I have a feeling though, that if somebody would have tried to run with her, she would have run away from them anyway. This race didn't take much out of her today. She galloped out real nice."
"Robby did a great job slowing down the pace," Dollase said. "Then when he came into the stretch, he let her open up just like you want to do at Keeneland. This filly has tremendous speed. She puts herself in the race. She looked great today and she still has a lot left. She is barely even blowing. I think she has more in the tank for the (Kentucky) Oaks."
Bred in Kentucky by North Wales LLC, Elloluv was purchased for $120,000 at the 2002 Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds in training. The filly has won four of seven lifetime starts and earned $774,785. Previous to the Ashland, Elloluv finished second twice to recently-retired Composure in the Las Virgenes and Santa Anita Oaks, both grade I.