Ashland Stakes Predictions, Odds, Picks (Keeneland)

Ashland Stakes Odds and Post Position

Odds taken from Twinspires Sportsbook

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
J Rosario R Hess Jr
F Geroux B Cox
M Gutierrez D O’Neill
4 NEST 9/5
I Ortiz Jr T Pletcher
J Ortiz T Albertrani
J Velazquez W Ward
C Lanerie K McPeek
E Morales R Herandez

Ashland Stakes Predictions and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($45 in total)

$10 Exacta Part Wheel – Interstatedaydream over Nest, Happy Soul and Cocktail Moments = $30

$5 Exacta Part Wheel – Nest, Happy Soul and Cocktail Moments over Interstatedaydream = $15

If you’re playing only to win, go with my top pick Interstatedaydream (3/1).

Ashland Stakes

Nest, a winner of two straight stakes races, is the headliner in a field of eight 3-year-old fillies entered for Friday’s $600,000 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland.

A well-bred daughter of Curlin, the Todd Pletcher-trained filly ended last year with a determined victory in the Grade 2 Demoiselle at Aqueduct. In her only start this year, she romped home an easy winner of the Suncoast Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

If Nest is to collect her first Grade 1 victory on opening day at Keeneland, she will need to catch the speedy Happy Soul.

Trained by Wesley Ward, she has won her last three starts by a combined 26¼ lengths, which include stakes wins in New York and Arkansas. The daughter of Runhappy has never been beyond 6-furlongs, though.

Another who should get plenty of betting support on Friday is the Brad Cox-trained Interstatedaydream. The Classic Empire filly was a stylish winner of her 2022 debut, winning an allowance race at Oaklawn Park by more than eight lengths on March 13.

The 1 1/16-mile Ashland offers qualifying points for next month’s Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on a 100-40-20-10 scale to the top four finishers.

Ashland Stakes Predictions and Race Analysis


Bred to be a good one, this daughter of Curlin seems to be developing into a serious filly. She looked a little one-paced in running third in the Tempted and getting up to narrowly win the Grade 2 Demoiselle last fall but was more push-button in her 3-year-old debut.

That victory in the Suncoast Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs certainly came against lesser competition, but it showed her ability to get more involved in the race early. I think she will need that quality at 8 ½-furlongs at Keeneland.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, she has the look of a filly who will win a Grade 1 race before it is all said and done, but I could still see her doing her best running with more distance. She is the one to beat, but in this spot, there is one filly I prefer.

Happy Soul

This Wesley Ward-trained speedster is almost certain to go right out after the early lead on Friday. A two-time stakes winner while sprinting, it should only be a matter of how far the daughter of Runhappy can carry her speed.

While I do believe she is a serious talent, I’m not sold on the idea of her going from 6-furlongs up to 1 1/16 in this Grade 1 test. There is no filly in the race with her kind of speed, but there are a few in here who look fast enough to challenge her before they hit the stretch.

Speed like hers should always be feared, but I do like a few in here who are experienced at two-turns better.


This daughter of Classic Empire looked like a nice filly when she battled to win her debut at Belmont Park and then returned to rally for second in the Grade 2 Adirondack at Saratoga last summer. But then we did not see her again for seven full months.

When she finally made it back to the races for trainer Brad Cox, she looked outstanding in running away with her two-turn debut. It was only against allowance company that afternoon at Oaklawn Park, but dominating the favorite by more than eight-lengths was impressive.

This is a tough spot to move into, but then again, a repeat of her last makes her a huge threat in here. I see no reason to believe why she cannot repeat, or even move forward. She is the top pick.

Awake At Midnyte

Another one who should be within striking distance of Happy Soul early, this Nyquist filly has thrown in four solid starts to begin her career. Trained by Doug O’Neill, she was a game winner over some very nice fillies in her career debut going 6-furlongs last fall at Santa Anita.

It has been nothing but stakes for her since, and while she has to win in three tries, she has been competitive in each. All three were solid, but in each she looked to have a shot at the head of the lane, only to be turned back.

I certainly could see her involved again as they turn for home, but of the early Happy Soul chasers, I do like Interstatedaydream better.

Cocktail Moments

This one came from well back to win last fall at Churchill Downs in an absolute romp. It was the type of career debut that promised big things for the daughter of Uncle Mo. As of yet, she has yet to make good on the promise she flashed first out, but neither of her first two stakes tries were bad either.

Lacking much pace to run at in the Untapable Stakes, she had some traffic before losing by two lengths. Last time, she ran into the highly regarded Kathleen O. and could not match her late run.

With those two third-place finishes in her first two stakes, tries will come some attractive odds in the Ashland. This is no easier, but with just a little improvement in her first try at 8 ½ furlongs, I could definitely see her making some noise late. I will use her in the exotics as my top long shot.

Miss Mattie B

This well-traveled daughter of Tonalist showed nice improvement after losing the blinkers three starts back. That sharp maiden win at Del Mar came on the turf, however. Back to dirt for her last two, she was not embarrassed in either the Grade 2 Santa Ynez at Santa Anita or the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds.

In one she showed plenty of speed, while last time she was well back early. Probably still learning, there is hope that she can put it all together to become a stakes winner, but I do not expect Ashland to be the spot for a breakthrough.

Sterling Silver

After two victories to begin her career, including a win in the Franklin Square Stakes, this daughter of Cupid was asked to stretch out and face open company for the first time in her most recent outing.

That result in the Busher, beaten better than 20 lengths by Venti Valentine does not inspire confidence as she comes to Kentucky and faces an even tougher field. She could improve off the experience, but I still do not like her chances to contend against this group.

Heavenly Hellos

The biggest long shot in the field finally broke her maiden last time in her seventh career start. The win came on the synthetic surface at Turfway Park and at odds of 14/1.

Off that not-so-impressive victory, her connections have decided to throw her into the deep end of the pool. She looks hopelessly overmatched and I find her impossible to recommend in this Grade 1 affair.

How to Watch the Ashland Stakes

Ashland Stakes Race Information
What Ashland Stakes (Grade 1)
Location Keeneland
Time Friday, April 8 — 5:16 pm Eastern time
How to Watch TVG
Purse $600,000

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Brian Zipse

Expert on Horse Racing

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

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