One week after finishing 30 lengths behind Dreaming of Julia, runaway winner of the Gulfstream Park Oaks (gr. II), Emollient delivered a decisive victory of her own in the $500,000 Central Bank Ashland Stakes gr. I) April 6 at Keeneland (VIDEO).
Juddmonte Farms homebred Emollient and Mike Smith quickly cleared the field after breaking from the outside in the field of 13 3-year-old fillies, enjoying a three-length lead through a quarter mile in :23.75 and half mile in :48.12.
Entering the short Keeneland stretch, Emollient displayed another gear as she drew off to a nine-length victory under a hand ride. Emollient completed the 1 1/16-mile race on the Polytrack in 1:43.49.
"She was very comfortable out there; we weren't getting challenged early," said Smith, who was riding the Empire Maker filly for the first time. "I thought, 'Well at some point I'm going to try to see if I can kick this race open.' I did just before we headed for home and I was amazed at the burst of speed she gave me."
Irish-bredTuttipaesi, winner of this year's Ginger Brew Stakes at Gulfstream Park, finished second followed by grade III winner Kitten's Point in third. Emollient returned $14.40 to win, $8.40 to place, and $5.80 to show. Tuttipaesi returned $5.80 and $4.40; Kitten's Point paid $5.20 to show.
The victory ensures Emollient a place in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). The connections said they planned to point to the May 3 race at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Bill Mott, Emollient closed out her 2012 season with a runner-up finish in the Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II) at Aqueduct Racetrack. She opened this season with an allowance/optional claiming race victory in a 1 1/16-mile race at Gulfstream Feb. 16 before her off-the-board finish in the March 30 Gulfstream Park Oaks.
Mott assistant Rodolphe Brisset said the connections thought the filly, out of the Touch Gold mare Soothing Gold, deserved another shot this week.
"The whole team always really, really liked this filly," Brisset said. "She's been good to us and that race (the Gulfstream Park Oaks) was just a bad race. It's horse racing. We took a shot today."
Spring in the Air, who captured the Alcibiades Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland last fall, challenged in fourth early but faded to ninth as the 4-1 favorite.
With sunshine and 70-degree weather falling on the first Saturday of the spring meeting, a crowd of 32,564 turned out at the Lexington track.