08/06/2014 7:52AM

Dual champion Ashado enters Hall of Fame

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Ashado will enter the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame as the winner of 11 graded stakes in her 21-race career, including the 2005 Grade 1 Go For Wand Handicap.

Throughout a 21-race career, Ashado excelled at the highest levels, winning 11 graded stakes and two divisional Eclipse Awards. Those feats earned her a place in the 2014 class inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame.

Owned by a Starlight Racing partnership headed by Louisville, Ky., businessman Jack Wolf, Ashado becomes the first horse trained by future Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“What an honor it is for a horse,” Wolf said. “She really does deserve it.”

Ashado was purchased during the early years of the Starlight venture for $170,000 at the 2002 Keeneland September yearling sale. Wolf’s partners in Ashado, in what then was known as Starlight Stables, were Paul Saylor and Johns Martin.

“We detected some minor issues at the sale, but obviously she overcame them,” Wolf said. “She wound up being very precocious. Once we sent her to Todd, we never sent her back to the farm once. She was ready early as a 2-year-old, and a 3-year-old, and a 4-year-old. That just tells you how sturdy she was.”

Ashado, a dark bay bred in Kentucky by Aaron and Marie Jones, was sired by Saint Ballado and out of Goulash, by Mari’s Book. She began her career with a seven-length maiden win at Belmont Park in June 2003, then won the Grade 2 Schuylerville and Grade 1 Spinaway at Saratoga. She concluded her 2-year-old season with a third in the Grade 1 Frizette, a second to eventual juvenile filly champion Halfbridled in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, and a victory in the Grade 2 Demoiselle.

And she was just getting going.

Ashado won 5 of 8 starts at 3, capped by a rousing triumph in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks and a victory over older fillies and mares in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Lone Star Park. Her outstanding record earned her the Eclipse Award as top 3-year-old filly of 2004.

At 4, her final season of competition, Ashado raced seven times, winning three races, all Grade 1 events in New York: the Ogden Phipps, Go for Wand, and Beldame. She was third as the favorite in her final career start, the BC Distaff at Belmont, and amassed a record good enough for her to be voted as the top female runner of 2005.

Ashado retired with a career mark of 21-12-4-3 and earnings of $3,931,440. Just days after her final start, she was sold at Keeneland for a then-record $9 million, being purchased by Darley, and she now resides at Gainsborough Farm in Versailles, Ky. Now 13, the mare has had four named foals, two to race, and currently is in foal to Tapit.