Ashland nominees include Champion Echo Zulu and G2 Winner Turnerloose

February 27, 2022

LEXINGTON, KY (Feb. 24, 2022) – L and N Racing and Winchell Thoroughbreds’ champion Echo Zulu, who capped off a perfect 2021 campaign with a victory in the NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Del Mar, and Dawn and Ike Thrash’s Turnerloose, winner of the Rachel Alexandra (G2) last Saturday at Fair Grounds in her dirt debut, headline the 99 3-year-old fillies nominated to the 85th running of the $600,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1) on Friday, April 8, opening day of Keeneland’s 15-day Spring Meet.

The division’s first Grade 1 race of the year, the Central Bank Ashland is worth a stakes-record $600,000.

The 1 1/16-mile Central Bank Ashland awards 100 points to the winner on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks (G1). The next three finishers receive 40 points, 20 points and 10 points, respectively, to the $1.25 million race on May 6 at Churchill Downs. 

Thirty-five fillies who raced in the Central Bank Ashland have won the Kentucky Oaks, including champions Malathaat (2021) and Monomoy Girl (2018), Cathryn Sophia (2016) and Lovely Maria (2015).

Click here for a list of Central Bank Ashland nominees; click here for their past performances.

The Central Bank Ashland, the ninth race on April 8 with a 5:16 p.m. ET post, highlights the 10-race opening-day card that begins at 1 p.m. Other stakes that day are the $400,000 Kentucky Utilities Transylvania (G3) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the turf and the $400,000 Lafayette for 3-year-olds at 7 furlongs on dirt.

The three stakes will be included in the late Pick 4 and late Pick 5 wagers. The Kentucky Utilities Transylvania will be part of the Keeneland Turf Pick 3.

Post positions for the Central Bank Ashland and the other opening-day races will be drawn Tuesday, April 5.

Echo Zulu, trained by Steve Asmussen, captured her four races in 2021 by a combined 22 lengths and won the Spinaway (G1), Frizette (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies as the odds-on favorite. The filly by Gun Runner, purchased at Keeneland’s 2020 September Yearling Sale, is third on the Oaks leaderboard with 30 points.

Turnerloose, trained by Brad Cox – who won the 2018 Central Bank Ashland with Monomoy Girl – raced exclusively on grass as a 2-year-old and won two of four starts. In the Rachel Alexandra, the daughter of Nyquist posted a half-length victory to pick up 50 points toward the Oaks and shoot to the top of the leaderboard. Turnerloose is a graduate of Keeneland’s November Breeding Stock and September Sales.

Ashland nominee Turnerloose wins the Rachel Alexandra (G2)

Six other fillies on the top 10 of the Oaks leaderboard are among the Central Bank Ashland nominees. They include the three fillies who were second, third and fourth behind Turnerloose in the Rachel Alexandra: Red Oak Stable’s Goddess of Fire (4), Reddam Racing’s Awake At Midnyte (9) and Hidden Brook Farm and Black Type Thoroughbreds’ Hidden Connection (8).

Other notable nominees to the Central Bank Ashland include Repole Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Michael House’s Nest, winner of the Demoiselle (G2) and Suncoast (L) and fifth on the Oaks leaderboard; Albaugh Family Stables’ Juju’s Map, winner of last fall’s Darley Alcibiades (G1) at Keeneland and runner-up to Echo Zulu in the Breeders’ Cup, and Briland Farm’s Secret Oath, 7¼-length winner of the Martha Washington (L) at Oaklawn Park and trained by three-time Ashland winner D. Wayne Lukas.

Juju’s Map also is trained by Cox, who leads trainers by Central Bank Ashland nominees with 14.The late nomination period for the Central Bank Ashland is Wednesday, March 23.

TVG will provide live, enhanced coverage of Keeneland during the 15-day Spring Meet, which opens Friday, April 8 and concludes Friday, April 29. First post is 1 p.m., except for April 9 and April 29 when the first race will be at 12:30 p.m.

Keeneland is closed for racing on Mondays, Tuesdays and Easter Sunday, April 17Juju’s Map also is trained by Cox, who leads trainers by Central Bank Ashland nominees with 14.

Keeneland Press Office

Photo:Echo Zulu winning the Spinaway at Saratoga, her first of three G1 stakes in an undefeated juvenile year. (Photo NYRA/Coglianese) 

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