04/04/2009 11:00PM

Hooh Why upsets Ashland

Email

LEXINGTON, Ky. - A California shipper proved victorious Saturday in the 72nd running of the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland. But instead of the reigning divisional champion, Stardom Bound, being led to the infield winner's circle afterward, it was Hooh Why who proved best at a $50 mutuel.

With Corey Lanerie substituting for Rene Douglas, Hooh Why led virtually all 1 1/16 miles of the $400,000 Ashland before holding off Gozzip Girl by a neck. Stardom Bound, the 7-10 favorite, was never a serious factor in finishing third, another 2 3/4 lengths back, in the field of nine 3-year-old fillies.

"We thought if she could get the lead pretty easy she'd be tough," said winning trainer Donna Dupuy.

Lanerie was named aboard Hooh Why late in the day after Douglas took off all mounts with an unspecified illness, according to track physician Dr. Barry Schumer.

Hooh Why, owned by Derby Daze Farms and Mark Hoffman, had finished third in a four-horse photo in the March 7 Santa Anita Oaks. Stardom Bound was a narrow winner that day, and all four of the involved horses ran back in the Ashland.

Amid terrific spring weather, and before a packed house of 30,550, Lanerie sent Hooh Why from post 8 to the lead into the first turn. Be Fair gave closest chase while the rest of the field began to string out down the backside. Into the far turn, Hooh Why remained clear, and only a sustained outside run from Gozzip Girl, who was coming off four straight turf races, could get close to Hooh Why.

Hooh Why, a Florida-bred by Cloud Hopping, finished in 1:43.80 over Polytrack for her third win in 10 career starts. The victory was her first in a stakes.

The defeat snapped a winning streak at five Grade 1 races for Stardom Bound, whom trainer Rick Dutrow did not commit to running back in the May 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. "I didn't see what I wanted to see," said Dutrow.

Kent Desormeaux, who rode seventh-place finisher Dream Empress in the Ashland, rode four earlier winners and narrowly missed a fifth when Parading was beaten a nose in a $60,000 turf allowance in the race before the Ashland.