Ashland Stakes (gr. I) winner Lilacs and Lace was sold to a Japanese breeder for an undisclosed amount and was sent to that country shortly after the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), according to former majority owner Jim Covello.
“(The sale price) was just too good to pass up,” said Covello, who declined to give the name of the filly’s new owner. “Sometimes you have to think about the business side of this whole thing if you want to stay in the game long-term. I hear she’s been bred already to Henrythenavigator."
Covello, who bought a majority interest in the daughter of Flower Alley after she won the Jan. 1 California Oaks at Golden Gate, campaigned the filly in partnership with her breeders, Judy Hicks and Kathryn Nikkel.
Kentucky-bred Lilacs and Lace, who finished a troubled 12th in the Oaks, exited racing with a record of 3-2-0 from nine starts and earnings of $350,000.
“I had never run a horse in the Oaks before, and it was a dream of mine in the game to have a filly in the Oaks,” said Covello, who also owns other 2011 stakes winner Swift Warrior in partnership. “She certainly fulfilled the dream to me. I thank Judy and Kathryn for breeding such a great filly and being willing to sell me the majority interest. They obviously did a terrific job with her.
“(Trainer) John (Terranova) also did an unbelievable job…what a whirlwind of activity for a few months of owning a filly—between the Ashland win and running in the Oaks, and then getting the chance to take some significant money off the table. It was just an unbelievable experience.”
Covello said Lilacs and Lace’s poor Oaks run had to do with the fact she didn’t take to the dirt. The filly had raced the majority of her starts on synthetic surfaces and turf prior to the Run for the Lilies and finished seventh in her only other dirt attempt as a 2-year-old.
“For a mile (in the Oaks), she looked great, but as soon as (jockey) Javier Castellano asked her to run, he said she started spinning her wheels,” said Covello. “She really didn’t like the dirt. I also know the rail wasn’t a great place to be on Oaks day.”
In spite of her poor finish, Covello said the filly came out of the race fine, and the swiftness of her being purchased had to do with future breeding plans.
“There was some sense of urgency on the part of the buyer because he wanted to breed her this year, so it was something we had to make a decision on right away,” he said. “(Racing Lilacs and Lace) was a great experience overall and we certainly look forward to watching Kathryn and Judy’s full siblings of the filly run over the coming years.
“I wish the buyer, Lilacs and Lace, and her babies the best, and who knows--maybe someday we’ll see the babies racing over here.”
Lilacs and Lace is out of the Seattle Slew mare Refinement and is a half sister to stakes producer Social Savvy, plus stakes-placed runner Western Revenge. Refinement delivered a full sister to Lilacs and Lace the same day she won the Ashland, April 9.