Updated on 09/17/2011 10:14AM

Elloluv runs away with Ashland

Elloluv ($6.20) takes the Grade 1, $551,750 Ashland at Keeneland on Saturday by 3 3/4 lengths under Robby Albarado.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - The was supposed to be a competitive race, and, indeed, the toteboard reflected as much. Lady Tak was the 6-5 favorite over a pair of 2-1 shots, Yell and Elloluv, in the Grade 1 race Saturday at Keeneland.

But the actual results were far different than the paper race. Elloluv dominated from the start, setting a realistic pace under Robby Albarado before gliding away from Lady Tak for a 3 3/4-length triumph in the 66th running of the $551,750 Ashland.

Owned by J. Paul Reddam and trained by Craig Dollase, Elloluv returned $6.20 as second choice after finishing 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.58 over a fast track. Lady Tak finished another three-quarters of a length ahead of 28-1 shot Holiday Lady, with Yell another five lengths back in fourth, Then came Allspice, Unbridled Femme, and Ivanavinalot.

"Robby rode her great," said Dollase. "He got out there and just slowed it down, and she came running home. She just crushed them today."

Elloluv, a narrowly beaten second behind the since-retired Composure in her two previous starts at Santa Anita, both Grade 1 races, now heads to Churchill Downs as probably no worse than second choice in the May 2 Kentucky Oaks. Storm Flag Flying, the divisional champion who is scheduled to make her seasonal debut April 18 in the Comely Stakes, is still under consideration for the Oaks.

Before an ontrack crowd of 19,128, and amid cloudy and cool conditions, Elloluv outfooted the field into the first turn to set fractions of 24.63 seconds, 48.72, and 1:12.56. Holiday Lady, with Jose Santos up, raced in closest pursuit before Lady Tak angled off the rail from her stalking position to launch a stretch bid, but to no avail.

Lady Tak, previously unbeaten in five starts, was ridden by Corey Lanerie, who was substituting for Donnie Meche, the filly's rider in all of her prior starts. Meche was serving a suspension.

Trainer Steve Asmussen said Lady Tak most likely will get a rematch with Elloluv in the Oaks.

"The best horse today hit the wire first," said Asmussen. "We'll go back to Louisville and see what unfolds there."

The Ashland marked the second Grade 1 win for Elloluv, a Kentucky-bred by Gilded Time. She won the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet to end her 2-year-old campaign, then won the Grade 2 Santa Ynez to start her 3-year-old year. Then came the two close defeats behind Composure.

Forty minutes after the Ashland, Dollase's father, Wally, also enjoyed a major triumph when Ten Most Wanted won the $500,000 Illinois Derby.

The 5-2 exacta in the Ashland paid $18.40 and the 5-2-7 trifecta paid $170.