Updated on 09/18/2011 1:11AM

Ashkal Way wins Kelso, raises hopes


ELMONT, N.Y. - A week ago, Godolphin Racing's prospects for the Breeders' Cup Mile were looking bleak as Proclamation and Librettist emerged lame from the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in Ascot.

Saturday, Godolphin Racing's prospects for the BC Mile improved immensely as Caradak won a Group 1 race in France and Ashkal Way won the Grade 2, $250,000 at Belmont Park.

Under Mike Luzzi, Ashkal Way took advantage of a swift early pace, rallied four wide on the turn, and then outfinished a determined Free Thinking to win the Kelso by a head. It was another 2o1/4 lengths back to 8-5 favorite Art Master in third.

Meteor Storm finished fourth followed by Drum Major, Baron Von Tap and Friendly Island.

It was the fifth victory in six North American starts for Ashkal Way, a 4-year-old gelded son of Ashkalani. Ashkal Way's final time of 1:32.07 was the fastest of 18 Kelsos run at a mile. He paid $6.20 as the second choice.

Luzzi was aboard Ashkal Way when he finished second behind Remarkable News in the Grade 2 Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga Aug. 6. Luzzi followed Artie Schiller that day, but it was Remarkable News who led gate to wire.

"Not that I would have won, I just thought I waited a little too long the last time I rode him," Luzzi said. "So today I rode him a little bit different. I watched how Garrett [Gomez] rode him a couple of times and it worked out. He seems to be a fighter too. He wanted to keep his head in front, which as a jockey makes you look good."

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor was at Belmont on Saturday and liked what he saw from Ashkal Way.

"He ran a big race, the jockey gave a brilliant ride, we're happy with the way he finished his race." Suroor said. "I think the mile really suits him, firm ground is best for him. We'll see how the horse comes back after the race. If he's sound then the Breeders' Cup will be possible for him."

Suroor said that Caradak and Echo of Light, a Group 3 winner in York on Sept. 9, are also under consideration for the Mile.

* Society Hostess, put on the lead by Jose Santos, held off a late charge from Lemon Drop Gal to win the $70,050 License Fee Stakes by a neck. It was a head back to Quickfire in third. Society Hostess, owned by Moyglare Stud and trained by Christophe Clement, covered the six furlongs in 1:08.07 and returned $5.40.