06/30/2010 11:00PM

Easy Ashley just keeps traveling


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Easy Ashley has run very competitively at four different racetracks this year.

Owner-trainer Wesley Ward hopes a trip to a fifth venue, Monmouth Park, finally puts his 5-year-old homebred in the winner's circle for the first time this season.

Easy Ashley has the rail in the $80,000 first-level allowance feature for fillies and mares going five furlongs on the turf on Friday.

The 12-race card kicks off the Independence Day weekend on the Jersey Shore. Monmouth will offer live racing every day through Monday with the first post at 12:50 p.m. Eastern.

In five starts this year, Easy Ashley has not been off the board with two seconds and a trio of thirds. Her Beyer Speed Figures have been remarkably consistent, remaining within a tight band ranging from 73 to 77.

But victory had been just beyond her grasp in an odyssey that has taken her from Gulfstream to Woodbine to Churchill Downs. Most recently, Easy Ashley was second at Hollywood Park in a first-level California-bred allowance.

"She's a hard-trying old mare every time you lead her over there," Ward said. "Unfortunately for her, somebody has been just a little bit luckier and has gotten the breaks more than she did. She's very honest."

Ward had hoped this race would be the second-half of a winning first-level parley. As a statebred race, a victory in her most recent outing in California would not have counted against the allowance conditions at Monmouth. As has been the case all year, it just didn't fall into place.

"She ran very hard there and she came back very good," Ward said. "She's bucking and playing and feeling her oats."

Easy Ashley flew here from Kentucky on Monday.

"She shipped in well," Ward said. "She's eating up. She couldn't be more happy now."

Ward hopes the cutback from six furlongs to five will be the winning move.

"I would say this distance hits her right on the head." Ward said.

Easy Ashley is 4-1-3 in 8 races at the distance on grass.

The only drawback could be the rail, not always the best starting point in a sprint. Easy Ashley is quick enough to secure good early position on a course that has been favoring speed.

Elvis Trujillo will ride.

Purrfect Bluff might have found a new home on the turf, having rallied for second on the surface switch following a $32,000 claim by trainer Patricia Farro.