Sailor's Valentine wins the Ashland by a half-length

Sailor's Valentine wins the Ashland by a half-length

Keeneland/Coady Photography

Sailor's Valentine Exits Ashland in Good Order

Mizzen Mast filly to prepare for the Longines Kentucky Oaks at Keeneland.

The morning of April 9 trainer Eddie Kenneally said Central Bank Ashland Stakes (G1) winner Sailor's Valentine, who won by a half-length at odds of 22-1, will be aimed at the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs May 5. With the 100 points she earned Saturday, Sailor's Valentine has a guaranteed spot in the Oaks. 

"We will look at the Kentucky Oaks, but we are going to leave her at Keeneland for a while," Kenneally said. "Not really sure how long she will stay here. We might leave before the end of the meet so we can breeze her at Churchill. That is the plan if everything continues to go well."

The daughter of Mizzen Mast was purchased for $100,000 by co-owner Semaphore Racing, agent, at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale. She has earned $359,214 for Semaphore Racing and Homewrecker Racing.

"The Ashland set up perfectly and she got a great ride from Corey Lanerie," Kenneally said. "She breezed really well before the race so we had to take a shot. Everything came together perfectly."

ANGST: Sailor's Valentine Delivers Ashland Upset

Normandy Farm's late-charging Daddys Lil Darling ran second Saturday and was also in good order Sunday morning. 

"She came back well. She ate up last night, and she was bouncing around this morning," said Alan Shell, assistant to trainer Kenny McPeek. Shell expects McPeek to make a decision in the coming days about whether Daddys Lil Darling's immediate future would include a start in the Oaks.

Trainer Will VanMeter reported that Tommy Ligon's Someday Soon, who finished third at odds of 21-1, exited the Ashland in great condition but would likely bypass the Oaks. With 20 points, she is 14th on the list of leading point earners for the Oaks, which is limited to 14 starters.

"She was bucking and squealing when we turned her out," VanMeter said of the filly who was turned out in a small pen in the Rice Road barn area. "But we probably won't run in the Oaks unless there are some major defections. We'll keep our options open."

The Mark Casse-trained duo of Summer Luck and Pretty City Dancer, who finished fifth and sixth, respectively, vanned to Churchill Saturday night to rejoin the Casse string in Louisville.

"That was not one of their better performances," Casse said. "I'll probably send one, Pretty City Dancer, to the ($200,000) Eight Belles (G2, at 7 furlongs May 5), and Summer Luck, I'd like to try her in the (Kentucky) Oaks because she had no pace to run into yesterday. But, I don't think she'll have enough points to get in."

Summer Luck currently stands 20th on the Oaks list with 11 points.