Sunday, April 6, 2003

Elloluv impressive in Ashland win

By Chris Duncan
The Associated Press

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Elloluv won the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday without a challenge.

The Kentucky-bred daughter of Gilded Time took the lead in the first turn, settled into a comfortable pace and drew off for a 3 3/4-length win over previously unbeaten Lady Tak in the $500,000 Grade 1 race for 3-year-old fillies.

In her last two starts, Elloluv was caught in the stretch and beaten by now-retired Bob Baffert trainee Composure in Grade 1 races at Santa Anita.

She got no such duel from any filly in the field of seven Saturday, covering 1 1/16 miles in 1:43 2/5 and stamping herself as a favorite for the Kentucky Oaks.

"She was hardly blowing at the end," trainer Craig Dollase said. "She's really unbelievable. We're really looking forward to the Oaks."

Elloluv, with Robby Albarado riding, paid $6.20, $2.80 and $2.20 as the 2-1 second choice. She earned $342,085 for owner John Paul Reddam. Albarado was filling in for Elloluv's regular rider, Pat Valenzuela, who rode Kafwain in Saturday's Santa Anita Derby.

Elloluv was hardly winded after running the first four furlongs in 48 2/5 seconds.

"She ran so easily and it really never took much out of her," Albarado said.

The Steve Asmussen-trained Lady Tak, undefeated in five career starts, paid $3 and $2.40 as the beaten 6-5 favorite. Holiday Lady was 3/4 of a length back in third and paid $4.

The Shug McGaughey-trained Yell, the winner of the Davona Dale in February, finished fourth, five lengths behind Holiday Lady.

Allspice, Unbridled Femme and Bonnie Miss winner Ivanavinalot rounded out the field. The Florida-bred Ivanavinalot was the biggest disappointment, failing to place for only the second time in 10 starts.

Lady Tak jockey Corey Lanerie, replacing suspended regular rider Donnie Meche, urged his Florida-bred filly at the end of the backstretch.

She moved to the outside, charged past Holiday Lady and jockey Jose Santos and closed to within a length of Elloluv entering the homestretch.

Dollase was never worried.

"I could see how easily she was going and how much horse Robby had left," he said. "I knew they weren't going to get her."

Elloluv added the Ashland to her previous Grade 1 win in last December's Hollywood Starlet. She's finished no worse than third in seven career starts.

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