History was made on April 5 at Keeneland Race Course in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes, which for the first time in its 77-year history produced a dead-heat finish for first.
Thirteen fillies went to the post for Keeneland’s signature Kentucky Oaks prep race and the Ashland produced two outstanding Oaks contenders – Room Service and Rosalind – following a thrilling dead heat for the win.
In rolling Lexington pastures, these two fillies were foaled only one day apart and both were the result of quality pedigrees. Room Service – a homebred for Gary and Mary West – is by proven sire More Than Ready and is out of the stakes-winning and multiple stakes-producing Old Trieste mare Dream Lady. A chestnut filly, Rosalind is sired by Broken Vow and is out of the winning Theatrical mare Critics Acclaim.
Room Service entered the Ashland with a very nice record. The bay 3-year-old filly had earned her first stakes victory in her previous start when winning the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride Stakes on the turf at Gulfstream Park.
Owned by Landaluce Educe Stable, Rosalind showed promise last October when finishing second in the Grade 1 Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland.
Though Room Service was bumped coming out of the starting gate in the 1 1/16-mile Ashland, the field got off to a rather uneventful start. Room Service settled comfortably on the rail in last while Rosalind had only three horses beaten through the first half-mile. Istanford and Resistivity set a speedy tempo with fractions of :22.96 for the opening quarter and :45.90 for the half-mile.
On the second turn, the leaders became fatigued and Rosalind was gaining as she traveled six paths from the rail. With a furlong to Keeneland’s final post, Rosalind had gotten to the lead and opened up a sizable advantage. However, Room Service had made up ground despite angling five paths wide and was quickly closing in on Rosalind, who was ridden by Joel Rosario.
ROSALIND AND ROOM SERVICE WERE THE FIRST TO DEAD HEAT IN THE RACE'S HISTORY
Nearing the finish line, Room Service was in reach of the victory, but appeared hesitant to pass her final adversary. Under Shaun Bridgmohan, Room Service gave one final surge to match Rosalind’s stride across the finish line. The pair completed the 1 1/8-mile distance in a time of 1:43.38 on the synthetic Polytrack surface. Rosalind earned her first graded stakes victory.
After the race, trainer Wayne Catalano said Room Service would be considered for the Kentucky Oaks, and trainer Ken McPeek stated Rosalind could possibly race in May’s Kentucky Oaks as well as the Epsom Oaks in June.
After this past weekend that highlighted top Kentucky Oaks contenders at tracks across the nation, it would be difficult to dispute the quality of this year’s ‘Run for the Lilies’. With their Ashland performances, both Room Service and Rosalind established themselves as top contenders in what looks like a competitive Kentucky Oaks renewal.