05/06/2011 3:00PM

Edgewood: Diva Ash digs deep under Desormeaux

Justin Lane
Diva Ash shows the way home in Friday's Edgewood Stakes.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Kent Desormeaux put front-running Diva Ash to a drive before the quarter pole, and the daughter of Tapit gave the Hall of Fame jockey all she had in staying clear of the pack in winning her stakes debut Friday in the $113,800 Edgewood Stakes on the Kentucky Oaks undercard at Churchill Downs.

After gliding through an inside opening to take a short lead under the wire the first time, Diva Ash never looked back, scoring by 1 1/2 lengths over Sassy’s Dream. Smart Sting, the 2-1 favorite in a field of eight 3-year-old fillies, took third in a three-horse photo.

Dale Romans trains Diva Ash for the Zayat Stables of Ahmed Zayat. “We’ve thought a lot of this filly ever since she broke her maiden at Gulfstream,” Romans said, referring to a Feb. 23 debut that Diva Ash won at 11-1. “I loved the way Kent kept after her, and especially the way she just kept churning. This is nice.”

Diva Ash returned $9 as the second choice after finishing the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:45.93 over a turf course rated firm. She was coming off a runner-up finish in a Gulfstream turf allowance in her only race subsequent to her debut.

Entering the backstretch run, Diva Ash held an open lead, and after the field began to bunch midway through the far turn, Desormeaux began to ask his mount, first with a vigorous hand ride, then with intermittent cracks of the whip.

“It really worked out well,” said Desormeaux. “We thought if we could get an easy lead, take it. She had to run. She’s capable, and she proved that to me.”

Gaya and Holidaysatthefarm were early scratches.

A totalisator outage led to the start of the race being delayed about 15 minutes.