The Ashland- Grade I
KEE Race 4 1 1/16M Dirt
Purse $500.000 For Fillies
Three Years Old
Only 6 will go to the post in this Grade 1 Oaks qualifier and three of them are already in good position to be qualified. While there are only six entered it is a high quality field and should be very competitive so let’s take a look at each of them.
1 Quiver Pond, trained by Estero Farms
This filly has experienced most of her success on the turf but with a shortage of turf races for three year old fillies her trainer is electing to give her one more chance on the dirt. She did run a game 4th on the dirt in the Grade 1 Starlet from a wide draw so there is reason for some optimism. Worked a nice mile prepping for this and with the rail should be able to compete for a check.
2 Line Drive, trained by Our Athletes
After winning the grade 3 Matron sprinting last year this filly has fallen on tough times managing to hit the board only once in four attempts. She has been the victim of poor post draws in her last two races so the move to the inside should be appreciated. Her works do not seem to be quite as good as some others though so I will not be wagering on her.
3 Molly Magne, trained by Gdp Inc.
Has already amassed 56 Oaks points so will be racing for the cash here. In her last outing she put to rest any concerns on her being able to handle the distance as she romped home over a good track in the Santa Ysabel. A slower six furlong work is a little bit alarming but she has to be considered a top threat and if the track were to come up wet again that would certainly boost her chances.
4 British Chai, trained by Mo Mentum farm
Maybe the most interesting horse in the field as this filly has only raced four times and has yet to win. Her last two races were also in graded oaks preps and she ran a respectable fourth in each of them so cannot be counted out. That being said I can never recommend backing a maiden against a field as accomplished as this so I will have to pass.
5 Manifest, trained by Smokey Stover
Another filly that has pretty much locked up her Oaks berth and will be racing here for the sizable purse. A recent purchase by Smokey Stover for $550.000 she quickly provided a return on that investment when she won the grade 3 Honeybee while beating one of her main rivals today Confidently In Love. Has continued to work very well and I do not see why she should not be able to win again here.
6 Confidently In Love, trained by Mb Stables
The most accomplished filly in the field with three Grade 1 wins and almost $700.000 in earnings. She probably needs to finish in the money to guarantee herself a spot in the oaks but is in pretty good shape with 42 points. She seems to do her best running from off the pace and there does not seem to be a lot of speed in the race so it will be interesting to see what tactics her leading trainer employs.
It is hard to decipher how this race may play out with the lack of an obvious pacesetter. Will one of the outside horses push to the front or will someone from the inside get away with soft fractions. I am thinking Manifest may find herself on the lead and if not pressed will be able to take them wire to wire. Confidently In Love and Molly Magne will both make big runs but come up a bit short. If the track were to come up wet that may change things as Molly Magne looks to be very fond of the off going.