Pleasant Home Upsets Ashado in the Distaff
by Deirdre B. Biles
Date Posted: 10/29/2005 5:07:23 PM
Last Updated: 1/30/2006 11:25:28 AM

Pleasant Home pulled off a shocker in the $1,834,000 Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I), rallying from the outside on the turn and rolling to an 9 1/4-length victory at 30-1 odds.

Left in her wake at Belmont Park was champion and last year's Distaff winner, Ashado, who finished third as the favorite and is scheduled to be sold at the upcoming Keeneland November breeding stock auction.

Ashado was trying to pass Azeri to become North America's leading female earner, but needed to finish second to do so. Instead, Society Selection was the runner-up, edging Ashado by a neck while improving on her 9th-place effort in the 2004 Distaff.

Ridden by Cornelio Velasquez, Pleasant Home covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.34 and paid a whopping $63.50, $25.60 and $13.40 to win. She is a Phipps Stable homebred trained by Shug McGaughey, who saddled two previous homebred Distaff winners for the Phipps family: Inside Information in 1995 for Ogden Mills Phipps and Personal Ensign in 1988 for Ogden Phipps. McGaughey notched his ninth Breeders' Cup win.

"I was surprised," McGaughey said of the odds. "I mean I know she was 20-1 shot, but I thought we would see a little betting on her. Closers have been doing OK today but even when I looked up in the paddock and I saw her price was 23-1, and it wasn't coming down, it was a real surprise.

"She has really come around late," he added. "With Personal Ensign, her (Distaff) win was at the end of her career. When we got Inside Information and Heavenly Prize (1-2), they were both pretty proven horses by that point. But this was a coming horse. My crew up at Saratoga had her. They did a great job with her. She had done so well in her last couple, I expected her to run well but I wasn't expecting this."

Velasquez settled Pleasant Home well behind Capeside Lady's brisk early pace. The fractions were :23.33 for the first quarter mile and :46.31 for the half. Pleasant Home was last in the 13-horse field early and had only improved her position to 11th three-quarters of a mile into the race. Then she exploded, charging up to third early in the stretch before gaining the lead and pulling away as the wire approached.

Society Selection, ridden by Edgar Prado paid $12.80 and $7.90. Ashado returned $3.30.

The Distaff was Pleasant Home's fifth victory in 12 career races and the winner's share of $1,040,000 increased her bankroll to $1,378,070. She came into the Breeders' Cup off a runner-up finish to Pampered Princess in the Oct. 9 Spinster Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland. Pleasant Home had not won since a 5 ½-length victory in the Bed o' Roses Breeders' Cup (gr. III) in April, but in addition to her Spinster effort, she was second behind Happy Ticket in the Ballerina Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga.

"The last time (the Spinster Stakes) we had a problem because of a soft pace, and we couldn't get there in time," Velasquez said. "This time was better because of a fast pace. It gave us something to run at. We broke good, and I just followed (Edgar)Prado (on Society Selection) and (John) Velazquez (on Ashado). When I entered the turn, I knew I had so much horse. I knew I was going to win."

Pleasant Home is a 4-year-old daughter of Seeking the Gold out of the Pleasant Colony mare Our Country Place.

Ashado ends her career with a win, a second and a third in three Breeders' Cup races. She compiled an overall record of 12-4-3 in 21 starts with earnings of $3,931,440.

"Turning for home, I thought we had a chance but it's a long way from the quarter-pole to the finish line in a Breeders' Cup race," said Ashado's trainer Todd Pletcher. "I would have liked to send her out with a win but you could never be disappointed with the career that this filly has had. It's been a tremendous run these last three years."

Stellar Jayne ran fourth, followed by In the Gold, Capeside Lady, Nothing But Fun, Hollywood Story, Sweet Symphony, Island Fashion, Happy Ticket, Yolanda B. Too and Healthy Addiction.

(Chart, Equibase)

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