The daughter of Dr Fong—Peggy Lane, by Dancing Spree, who Covello co-owns with Thomas Coleman and Mike Dohenney, is looking for her second straight graded stakes score in the Ashland. She heads a full field of 13 3-year-old fillies entered for the April 5 test.
The 1 1/16-mile Polytrack event is carded as the ninth race Saturday with a post time of 5:22 p.m. ET. The Ashland offers 170 points toward the May 2 Longines Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) with 100 points to the winner.
Bred in France by Barbara Moser, Testa Rossi began her career in France and joined trainer Chad Brown's barn for a fall 2013 campaign that included a victory in the Miss Grillo (gr. IIIT) in October and a runner-up finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IT). She enters the Ashland—her first start on a synthetic surface—off a score in the March 8 Florida Oaks (gr. IIIT) at Tampa Bay Downs in her 2014 debut. She won that race over fellow Ashland contender Istanford, who was second by 3 1/2 lengths.
"We loved her turn of foot; we thought it was a classic, European turn of foot," said Covello of why he initially bought Testa Rossi, a winner of three of her first five starts in her native France. "We also liked the fact that she was bred to go longer and was doing well sprinting."
Jose Lezcano, who has been aboard for Testa Rossi's three United States starts, has the call in the Ashland and will break from post 6.
The other graded stakes winner in the field is Gary and Mary West's Room Service. Trained by Wayne Catalano, the homebred Room Service won the March 2 Herecomesthebride (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park, where she defeated Central Bank Ashland foes Candy Kitty and Seeking Her Glory. In her sophomore debut, she finished third in the Jan. 26 Sweetest Chant Stakes, also at the South Florida track.
Room Service has put in two works at Keeneland, the most recent of which was a bullet 1:01 drill for five furlongs March 27.
Shaun Bridgmohan has the mount on Room Service, a daughter of More Than Ready —Dream Lady, by Old Trieste, who will exit post position 2.
"She looked liked she moved over the track very well; we're happy with what we see," said Catalano April 2. "We drew a nice post. We have a nice inside draw, so we'll just hope Shaun has a good trip."
The only starter in the field with stakes experience on Keeneland's main track is Landaluce Educe Stables' Rosalind. Trained by Ken McPeek, Rosalind was second in last fall's Darley Alcibiades (gr. I) prior to finishing third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).
So far this year, Rosalind has had one start, finishing third in an allowance/optional claiming race going 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream Park Feb. 27. The winner of the that race, undefeated In Tune, came back March 29 to capture the Gulfstream Park Oaks (gr. II).
Rosalind will break from post 8 and be ridden by Joel Rosario.
$500,000 Central Bank Ashland Stakes (gr. I, approximate post time 5:22 p.m. EDT), 3YOs, 1 1/16 miles (Polytrack)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Istanford (FL), J Rocco, Jr.118, M Stidham
2. Room Service (KY), S Bridgmohan, 118, W M Catalano
3. Macaroon (KY), L Saez, 118, K P McLaughlin
4. On the Backstreets (PA), R Albarado, 118, P Miller
5. Thank You Marylou (VA), J R Leparoux, 118, M J Maker
6. Testa Rossi (FR), J Lezcano, 118, C C Brown
7. Miss Besilu (VA), C J Lanerie, 118, W I Mott
8. Rosalind (KY), J Rosario, 118, K G McPeek
9. Candy Kitty (KY), E S Prado, 123, T A Pletcher
10. Ireland (KY), J Graham, 123, D W Lukas
11. Saturday Bliss (NY), C P DeCarlo, 118, G Weaver
12. Seeking Her Glory (VA), R Napravnik, 118, T A Pletcher
13. Resistivity (KY), S Elliott, M E Casse
All carry 121 pounds.