Central Bank Ashland Tops Opening Day at Keeneland

March 27, 2023

Last year’s Central Bank Ashland goes to eventual Champion 3YO Filly Nest (Coady Photography)

Keeneland Press Release

LEXINGTON, Ky.— For the second consecutive year, the Central Bank Ashland will be run opening day and headline three stakes for 3-year-olds on the 10-race card that begins at 1 p.m. The 1 1/16-mile Central Bank Ashland, which will be run for the 86th time, is the year’s first Grade 1 event for 3-year-old fillies and an important springtime target for the division’s most talented runners. The past two winners of the race, Nest and Malathaat, became champions.

The Central Bank Ashland, which attracted 90 nominees, offers 200 qualifying points on a 100-40-30-20-10 scale to the first- through fifth-place finishers toward the Kentucky Oaks (G1) to be run May 5 at Churchill Downs.

Other opening-day stakes are the 35th running of the $400,000 Kentucky Utilities Transylvania (G3) going a mile and a sixteenth on the turf and the 75th running of the $400,000 Lafayette at 7 furlongs on the main track.

A total of 38 horses were nominated to the Kentucky Utilities Transylvania, including Nagirroc, who was third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) for trainer Graham Motion and the ownership group of Madaket Stables, Little Red Feather Racing and William Strauss. Another nominee is Susan Moulton’s homebred Andthewinneris, who is trained by Wayne Catalano and won last fall’s Castle & Key Bourbon (G2) at Keeneland.

Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman’s Cave Rock, a two-time Grade 1 winner and runner-up in the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) Presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, tops a list of 39 nominees for the Lafayette. Bob Baffert trains Cave Rock.

Other nominees of note include Michele and Cliff Love’s Damon’s Mound, winner of the Saratoga Special (G2), trained by Michelle Lovell; Andrew and Rania Warren’s Raise Cain, winner of the Gotham (G3), trained by Ben Colebrook; and Spendthrift Farm and Frank Fletcher Racing Operations’ Victory Formation, winner of the Smarty Jones (L), trained by Brad Cox.

Entries for opening day will be taken Tuesday, April 4.

Another great piece by Jonathan! twitter.com/jonathanstetti...

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