Weep No More was sent off the 30-1 second longest shot on the board in Saturday’s $500,000 Ashland (G1) at Keeneland, but the Rusty Arnold trainee ran like a favorite when running down highly regarded Rachel’s Valentina, Cathryn Sophia and Carina Mia to score by a neck on the wire under jockey Corey Lanerie.
The victory awarded Weep No More 100 points toward a starting berth in the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (G1), and the Mineshaft filly will take full advantage while trying nine furlongs for the first time in that contest.
Rachel’s Valentina, the 5-2 second choice, held second by a neck over 1-2 favorite Cathryn Sophia to add 40 points toward her quest for Kentucky Oaks glory. Cathryn Sophia suffered her first career loss but took home 20 points en route to the Oaks. Carina Mia, the early pacesetter who captured Churchill Downs’ Golden Rod (G2) in her last start in November, followed in fourth by two lengths and was awarded 10 points.
Weep No More has compiled a 4-3-0-0, $352,269, career record, including a last-out win in the Suncoast S. at Tampa Bay Downs in her stakes bow.
Bred in Kentucky by Hinkle Farms Inc. and Robert Kessinger, Weep No More is out of the Storm Cat mare Crosswinds, making her a granddaughter of 2001 Kentucky Oaks queen Flute. Crosswinds is a half-sister to Grade 2 victress Filimbi, and this female family also includes multiple Group 1 hero Brian Boru.
Rusty Arnold, trainer Weep No More, winner: “I thought she’d be that far back, and I told her (my wife, Sarah) about the half-mile pole, ‘I think she can get up for third from here.’ She just kept going, and they backed up a little bit. It was nice for the (owner) Bromagens, and we’ve been pointing for this race for two months.”
On her keys to big improvement: “Two turns, and she just came around. Each race she’s been better and better. Did we expect this? Not quite, but she’s a step ahead of us.
“We’ve got the mile and eighth in the (Kentucky) Oaks (G1) coming up. Jack Bohannan did all the work with her. She was under quarantine at Payson, and he trained her two months. Great job.”
Corey Lanerie, jockey Weep No More, winner: “At the top of the lane, to be honest, I didn’t think I would get up. I was rolling, I had a lot of horse, but with the short stretch, I was hoping to be third. Then about 70 yards from the wire, I was like, ‘C’mon baby – we can get it.’ She kept running and ran a huge race. Thanks to Rusty and them for the opportunity. What a great training job. He gave me all the confidence in the world, just to ride her, let her run her race and see what happens.”
Florent Geroux, jockey Rachel’s Valentina, second: “I had a great trip. Cathryn Sophia came to me a little bit earlier than what I wanted her to, but it’s part of the game; it’s a race. (Weep No More) came from nowhere and just nailed us right at the end.”
Javier Castellano, jockey Cathryn Sophia, third: “It was a perfect trip; it was what I was looking for today. You have to be prepared (to duel with a good horse). It was her first time going two turns – I don't know how far she likes to go. She will move forward after this race. She tried. Today was a good test.”
John Servis, trainer Cathryn Sophia, third: “The jockey said she did everything easy. He doesn’t know if she wants to go this far. I was fine (with the stretch duel), I know how gutsy she is. I really got worried when I saw (Weep No More) running through the lane. Reminded me of Birdstone (who defeated Servis’ Triple Crown hopeful Smarty Jones in the 2004 Belmont [G1]) a little bit.”
Julien Leparoux, jockey Carina Mia, fourth: “(The trip) was good. She was on the lead and just got tired. She was coming off a long layoff but she tried. She ran good.”
On whether he planned to go to the lead: “We didn’t really have a plan, (the race) just came up like this. We had a great post so I just kind of let her break and (saw) where she wanted to be. She just got tired at the end.”