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Emollient romps in Ashland off seven-day break
Juddmonte Farms' homebred Emollient finished a disappointing fifth in last Saturday's Gulfstream Park Oaks, beaten 30 lengths by the winner, but trainer Bill Mott never lost faith in his Empire Maker filly.
Instead, the Hall of Fame trainer wheeled her right back off the seven-day rest for the Grade 1, $500,000 Ashland at Keeneland on Saturday, and Emollient rewarded that faith with a dominating nine-length wire job in the 1 1/16-mile contest.
Breaking sharply from her far outside 13 post, Emollient and jockey Mike Smith angled toward the rail to take the lead from the start. The bay lass settled nicely in front to post splits of :23 3/5, :48 and 1:13, all the while holding a comfortable margin on Every Way, who was chasing in second.
Emollient was never threatened at any point in the Ashland and opened up in the stretch, pulling off to be nine lengths clear on the wire while finishing 1 1/16 miles on the Polytrack in 1:43 2/5.
"The whole team always really, really liked this filly. She's been good to us and that race (Gulfstream Park Oaks) was just a bad race -- it's horse racing. We took a shot today," said Rodolphe Brisset, assistant to Mott.
"With the 13 (post) in the gate, you never know how they're going to break," he added. "You never know if you're going to have pressure, but we knew what she could do and I guess she showed everybody today."
"She's extremely impressive," Smith agreed. "There were times early on in her career that she showed signs of brilliance, and she showed it today. Billy (Mott) said and then Rodolphe echoed it in the paddock, 'Don't be scared to be a little aggressive if she jumps well (out of the starting gate). Just go ahead and use her a little if she gets away well. If not, just go from there.' When she jumped well, I just took advantage of it. It was just pretty much her from that point on."
Despite the short turn around, Emollient was sent off the 6-1 third choice by the betting public and rewarded that faith with payouts of $14.40, $8.40 and $5.80.
"I was going very comfortable," Smith remarked. "I wasn't even getting challenged. I thought, well at some point I'm going to try and see if I can kick this race open. I did just before we headed for home and I was amazed at the burst of speed she gave me. Then I looked over into the (infield tote board) and I saw we'd opened up about 10 (lengths) and I said, well that's enough."
Tuttipaesi the 9-2 second pick, was outrun early from her rail post but rallied in the lane to be second, 1 1/4 lengths in front of stablemate and last-out Hercomesthebirde winner Kitten's Point on the wire.
"She acted up a little bit before the break and then after that had a beautiful trip. I think she was second best today," said Alan Garcia, who rode Tuttipaesi.
"She broke good and got in perfect position; she doesn't have that kind of speed. I was getting pushed out by a lot of horses on the backside," explained Kitten's Point's rider, Edgar Prado. "When I took her outside and I was clear, I started riding and she found another gear and finished strong."
Graham Motion trains the two fillies and remarked, "I'm thrilled with both of them. They both ran very well. Tuttipaesi just didn't break real sharp, which hurt her a little bit. But they both ran great races."
Wave Theory rounded out the top four and was followed under the wire by Kitten's Dumplings, Nipissing, Broken Spell, Spring Venture, Spring in the Air, Allanah, Private Ensign, Redressthebalance and Every Way. Adriani, Cash Is Queen and Magical Moon were all withdrawn.
"She's quirky, that filly. If she doesn't get away good she doesn't run well. I figured we were in trouble when she was off slow at the start," trainer Mark Casse said in regards to Spring Venture, before adding about 4-1 favorite Spring in the Air, "I thought she was running fast enough. She seemed to be comfortable, but she just didn't show up. She may have bled. We'll see."
Emollient earned 100 points for her Ashland victory on the new Road to the Kentucky Oaks points system, and now sits fourth on the Oaks leaderboard with 104 points. She acquired the other four points last November when finishing second in her stakes debut, the Demoiselle, at Aqueduct after breaking her maiden by 2 3/4 lengths at Belmont Park in late September.
The bay miss made her sophomore bow on February 16, taking an optional claimer at Gulfstream Park over a sloppy, sealed track, then suffered her first unplaced finish in the Gulfstream Park Oaks on March 30. The Kentucky-bred filly improved her record to read 6-3-2-0 on Saturday and has banked $441,900 in lifetime earnings.
Emollient is the first registered foal out of the Touch Gold mare Soothing Touch, who is herself a daughter of Grade 2-placed stakes victress Glia. Emollient's third dam is French highweight Coup de Genie, who produced fellow French highweight and Group 1 heroine Denebola, Grade/Group 3 winners Snake Mountain and Loving Kindness, and the dam of European champion, Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe king and sire Bago.
Coup de Genie is a full sister to French champion sire Machiavellian and a half-sister to Group 1-winning stallion Exit to Nowhere.
Emollient's fifth dam is Raise the Standard, who is a half-sister to breed-shaping sire Northern Dancer.