Ashado Heads Pimlico BC Distaff Field

Ashado, who missed the Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) on Kentucky Derby day because her trainer was not satisfied with her weight assignment, may run this Friday carrying that same 123 pounds.

Trainer Todd Pletcher withdrew last year's champion 3-year-old filly from consideration for the race at Churchill Downs because the 4-year-old daughter of Saint Ballado was being asked to pick up two pounds off her only start of this year, which she lost.

But, racing officials at Pimlico have assigned Ashado the same 123 pounds for Saturday's Pimlico Breeders' Cup Distaff Handicap (gr. III), for which she was one of nine entries.

Ashado, owned by Starlight Stable, Paul Saylor and Johns Martin, has made just one start since winning last year's Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) to secure an Eclipse Award. She finished fifth in the April 9 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park.

Last Tuesday at Belmont Park, Ashado worked five furlongs in :59.04, the best of 24 at the distance that morning.

In the Pimlico BC, Ashado would have to give from seven to 10 pounds to her rivals. A winner of nine of 15 lifetime starts, she will be ridden by her regular pilot, John Velazquez.

The 1 1/16-mile race is for fillies and mares age three and up. The purse for the dirt race is $150,000.

Ashado may also be entered in Saturday's Shuvee Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park.

One of the major competitors for Ashado should be Ogden Mills (Dinny) Phipps' Pleasant Home, who won the April 23 Bed o' Roses Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct by five lengths. The 4-year-old daughter of Seeking the Gold has won four of seven starts for trainer Shug McGaughey. Cornelio Velasquez has the return mount.

Another to watch for is Colony Band, a stablemate of Ashado. Owned by the Wertheimer family, the 4-year-old Dixieland Band filly won the Doubledogdare Stakes at Keeneland April 20.

Velazquez, who is the regular rider for Pletcher, has a double call on Colony Band.

Pleasant Home will carry 116 pounds and Colony Band 114.

The field, in post order, with weights and jockey assignments:
1. Friel's for Real, 114, Ramon Dominguez
2. Essence, 114, Chris DeCarlo
3. Silmaril, 115, Ryan Fogelsonger
4. Pleasant Home, 116, Cornelio Velasquez
5. Ashado, 123, John Velazquez
6. Colony Band, 114, John Velazquez
7. Saintliness, 116, Richard Migliore
8. Family Business, 113, Jerry Bailey
9. Traci Girl, 114, Michael Luzzi