Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Victory and Lace: The Novel Nine

Posted by Brian Appleton on April 12, 2011

The Wood Memorial may have been the most shocking upset of the season but Lilacs and Lace did her best to steal the spotlight this weekend with a 48-1 upset in the Ashland Stakes (gr.1) at Keeneland on Saturday. In a field that included heavy favorite Kathmanblu as well as multiple graded stakes winner Dancinginherdreams and Wyomia, Delightful Mary and Bouquet Booth, it was Lilacs and Lace who led almost gate-to-wire for the win.

Entering off a 4th place thrashing in the Bourbonette Stakes (gr.3) behind Summer Soiree, Lilacs and Lace broke quickly form the gate and outgunned both Delightful Mary and Bouquet Booth for the lead. Kathmanblu and Dancinginherdreams raced side by side towards the rear of the tightly bunched field as Lilacs and Led them through an opening quarter in :24.04. Down the backstretch Kathmanblu moved up to sixth position with Dancinginherdreams second last. On the front end Lilacs and Lace continued to move comfortably under jockey Javier Castellano, Delightful Mary just a half length behind to her outside with Excited and Bouquet Booth close behind. Wyomia and Kathmanblu ran in fifth and sixth respectively, just noses apart as the field continued through a half in :47.95. Lilacs and Lace began to edge clear of Delightful Mary as she led the pack into the far turn.

Midway around the turn Kathmanblu began to close with a rush, moving up along the outside of horses as Wyomia cut through the middle of the pack to move into second coming off the turn. Lilacs and Lace held a one length advantage over Wyomia as the field thundered into the homestretch. From behind Kathmanblu was now just a length behind Wyomia and under a full drive. With a few taps of the whip Lilacs and Lace opened up by two lengths on Wyomia at the top of the stretch, Kathmanblu appeared to be struggling to make up ground on the front two as she raced down the middle of the track. With less than a furlong remaining Wyomia began to make up ground once again, cutting the lead Lilacs and Lace had extended down to just one length at the wire with Kathmanblu two lengths back in third.

The winner sports a record of 3 wins in her last five starts and is obviously getting better. Her win in the Ashland goes a long way in flattering the form of Summer Soiree who soundly defeated Lilacs and Lace in the 1 mile Bourbonette last month.

Kathmanblu appeared to tire slightly in her first start on Polytrack after beginning a strong run in the stretch. She should benefit from a fitness standpoint and will be going into the Oaks with massive amounts of foundation and conditioning.

Wyomia ran a great race to finish second and has to now be considered a serious Kentucky Oaks contender. She possesses a terrific closing kick and appears to be able to launch her best run from far back, mid-pack or just off the pace.

Dancinginherdreams finished a shocking last in the Ashland after failing to run a single competitive step in the race. Ever since her Forward Gal miss she has been moving backwards in each race. Either something is physically wrong with her or she has just lost the will to win. [Read the complete post here on Kentucky Oaks Runner at Horse Racing Nation]


2 Responses to “Victory and Lace: The Novel Nine”

  1. mary petrecz said

    I love riding the race with you. It’s been an upsetting weekend for sure. I’m still behind R Heat Lightning…..with my ear to the ground to hear anything about Awesome Feather…..jump ahead… Breeders Cup?

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