Zayat Stable’s Heart Ashley took the lead out of the gate and never looked back as the 3-year-old daughter of Lion Heart ran away with the $107,300 Cicada Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO) at Aqueduct Racetrack on March 14.
Ridden by C.C. Lopez for trainer Steve Asmussen, Heart Ashley zipped along in fractional splits of :22.37, :44.71, and :56.67 en route to a 2 ½-length victory over Dream Play. The winner completed the six furlongs in 1:09.68 and returned $11.80 as the third choice in the six-horse field.
“I was conscious that they like to see her from just off the pace,” Lopez said. “I didn’t think I was faster than the 1-horse (favored Dream Play), but when my horse hopped out the way she did and I didn’t see Dream Play in front of me right away, I meant to get in front of them and make it difficult. She was ticking right off without me even asking and she just danced away from them.”
Dream Play finished second, followed by One Smokin Lady, Daily Star, Purrfect Bluff and Love That Dance.
The victory in Heart Ashley’s stakes debut was the third in five career starts for the filly bred in Kentucky by Gaines-Gentry Thoroughbreds. She has allowance and maiden wins to her credit and has two runner-up finishes to remain on the board in all her starts. The Cicada improved Heart Ashley's earnings to $135,196.