Bushfire Burns Ashland Field; Balance Third
by Ron Mitchell
Date Posted: 4/8/2006 6:49:22 PM
Last Updated: 4/9/2006 6:06:44 PM

Bushfire, with jockey Cornelio Velasquez aboard, wins the Ashland, Saturday at Keeneland.
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Bushfire, winner of the Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay in her previous start, led from start to finish to post a convincing upset victory Saturday in the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) before 21,342 fans at Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Ky. as heavily favored Balance finished third.

The winner is owned by Homewrecker Stable LLC and Ricki and Ron Rashinski.

Sent off at 15-1 odds under jockey Cornelio Velasquz, Bushfire jumped out to an early lead and never looked back, setting fractions of :23.34, :46.59, 1:10.93, and 1:37.98 for the first mile. The 3-year-old daughter of Louis Quatorze -- Traki Traki (by Mo Power) continued to draw away, winning by 6 1/2 lengths in final time of 1:45.16 for the 1 1/16 miles of a fast track.

Aptly-named Wait a While, who held up the start while the crew patiently waited for her to decide to load into the gate, finished second as 1-2 favorite Balance finished third in the race that is a traditional prep for the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).

Bushfire paid $32.20, $13.80 and $4.20. Wait a While paid $5.00 and $2.80. Balance was worth $2.10 to show.

"It's a pretty honest filly," trainer Eddie Kenneally said of the winner. "If you let her run early, she'll relax for you."

"He (jockey Victor Espinoza) said she could never really get hold of the track," said David Hofmans, who trains Balance. "It was too deep for her. When he tried to ask her to run, she bobbled a little."

Bushfire, who was bred in Florida by Moreau Bloodstock International and Mandolynn Hill Farm, had won three of her last four starts previous to the Ashland. The filly now has won four of six starts, with one third, and earned $475,740.

(Chart, Equibase)

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