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Lilacs and Lace bound for Oaks; Wyomia on the fence
When James Covello bought a majority interest in LILACS AND LACE (Flower Alley), trainer John Terranova said they "wanted to get a good filly to bring back east."
Consider it mission accomplished.
Lilacs and Lace scored a front-running victory in Saturday's Ashland (G1) and earned the right to move on down the road to Louisville, Kentucky, and a shot in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) on May 6.
In her first start for Terranova, Lilacs and Lace finished fourth in the Bourbonette Oaks (G3) at Turfway Park on March 26 after a nearly three-month layoff.
"She came out of the Bourbonette really well and trained well," Terranova said. "I thought she'd run a good race. How she'd measure up to these kinds of horses was the only question."
Terranova plans to keep Lilacs and Lace here for a while before going to Churchill Downs.
"I am going to send some horses over there that are going to run Derby Week and she might go the week before," Terranova said.
Lilacs and Lace's victory, a $99.40 shocker before a crowd of 23,155, was the third of the day for Terranova and jockey Javier Castellano. The duo won the opener with Energized (Lemon Drop Kid) and the 3RD with Citrus Kid (Lemon Drop Kid). Covello also is a part owner in those two horses as well as Lilacs and Lace.
"He was camped out at home yesterday and watched on TV," Terranova said. "He was thrilled. He'll be here next weekend for the Blue Grass (G1)."
Covello is co-owner with James Dolan in SWIFT WARRIOR (First Samurai), who could make Terranova the first trainer to sweep the Ashland and Blue Grass in the same year since Ken McPeek did it in 2002 with Take Charge Lady and Harlan's Holiday.
Swift Warrior turned in his Sunday exercise on the training track, jogging once around and galloping twice around under exercise rider Eliel DeJesus. Winner of the Rushaway on March 26 in his most recent start, Swift Warrior is expected to work Tuesday on the grass.
"I am leaning in that direction," Terranova said. "I just want to keep him happy. The turf course is in good shape and this horse has won on dirt and turf."
The Ashland result was a mixed bag for two Canadian-based fillies, runner-up WYOMIA (Vindication) and seventh-place finisher DELIGHTFUL MARY (Limehouse).
"It was kind of like kissing your sister," co-owner Edward Seltzer said of Wyomia's effort. "The jock (Freddie Lenclud) lost his iron at the three-sixteenths pole -- it's in the chart -- and he couldn't ride her. But she kept trying."
Trainer Curtis Garrison said Wyomia came out of the race fine and she would remain at Keeneland for at least the next three or four days.
"We are going to talk it over the next few days and see how she is doing before we decide on the Oaks," Garrison said.
"I think a mile and an eighth will be better for her than a mile and a sixteenth. The Kentucky Oaks is important, but it is about more than the next race; it's about the whole year," Seltzer said. "And looking ahead to next year, too. There are a lot of things I'd like to do with her."
Delightful Mary pressed the pace before giving away leaving the final turn. Trainer Mark Casse said that he would take the John Oxley-owned filly to Churchill Downs in about 10 days, gallop her a couple days and then breeze her.
"(Jockey) Shaun (Bridgmohan) says she handles Churchill Downs better even though she runs OK on the synthetic," Casse said.
"The OBS race (at Ocala on March 14) took a lot out of her and I almost didn't run here because I was worried she may bounce. If you subscribe to that theory, then her next race should be much better."