Grade 1 winner SHE BE WILD (Offlee Wild), recipient of the Eclipse Award as champion two-year-old filly of 2009, will make only her second start of the year on Saturday while facing seven rivals in the $400,000 Ashland S. (G1) at Keeneland. The 1 1/16-mile Polytrack test could be the final chance for the Wayne Catalano charge to prove herself worthy of starting in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) on April 30.
She Be Wild closed out her championship juvenile season with a victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), but didn't do so well in her return nearly three months later in the Forward Gal S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park. The dark bay miss ran three wide and tired to fifth in that seven-furlong event, which was also her dirt debut. She returns here to the same Polytrack over which she suffered her only other loss, a half-length second to NEGLIGEE (Northern Afleet) in last October's Alcibiades S. (G1). Jose Lezcano picks up the mount on She Be Wild as Julian Leparoux will be riding at Aqueduct on Saturday.
Negligee may have beaten She Be Wild in the Alcibiades, but she wasn't able to duplicate that effort when rallying for sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Trained by John Terranova II, the bay lass was close on the wire, just 1 3/4 lengths back of her rival, and will be making her seasonal bow in this spot off that loss. She earned her only stakes victory to date over Keeneland's Polytrack, and will try to keep her Kentucky record perfect with Rajiv Maragh retaining the mount.
BEAUTICIAN (Dehere) still owns just one win, with that coming when she broke her maiden in he career bow at Churchill Downs last June, but the Kenny McPeek runner has been close against stakes rivals multiple times. So far she's run second in the Schuylerville S. (G3), Spinaway S. (G1), Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and Honeybee S. (G3). Her only off-the-board finishes were a fifth in the Alcibiades and a seventh when trying the Cushion Track in the Hollywood Starlet S. (G1). She rebounded nicely off that lackluster effort to make her seasonal bow in the Honeybee last out and will keep Robby Albarado in the saddle for this one.
EVENING JEWEL (Northern Afleet) could make some noise in the Ashland following a pair of seconds in the Santa Ysabel S. (G3) and Las Virgenes S. (G1) at Santa Anita. She captured the California Breeders' Champion S. while going 8 1/2 furlongs and is unplaced just once in her seven-race career. Kent Desormeaux rides the James Cassidy trainee. PROTESTING (A.P. Indy) is another who might offer up a surprise following a two fourth-place finishes against allowance rivals. The Shug McGaughey charge was second in last year's nine-furlong Demoiselle S. (G2) at Aqueduct and broke her maiden prior to that one by five lengths over Keeneland's Polytrack. Javier Castellano has the call.
The other three entrants in the Ashland all have turf backgrounds, which may actually come in handy on the Polytrack. UPPERLINE (Maria's Mon) will be renewing her rivalry with APPLE CHARLOTTE (Smart Strike) after being held to third by that rival in the grassy Herecomesthebride S. (G3). IT'S TEA TIME (Dynaformer), on the other hand, just broke her maiden on February 21 and will be making her stakes bow in this spot.