04/06/2013 6:06PM

Keeneland: Emollient dominates Ashland on one week of rest

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Coady Photography/Keeneland
Emollient wins the Ashland by nine easy lengths under jockey Mike Smith.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Giving Juddmonte Farms and Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott their second contender for the 139th Kentucky Oaks in less than a one-hour span, Emollient turned in one of the most one-sided performances in the history of the Ashland Stakes when blowing away the opposition Saturday in the 76th running of the Grade 1, $500,000 race at Keeneland.

With her and Mike Smith getting away swiftly from the outside post in a field of 13 3-year-old fillies, Emollient quickly negated that supposed disadvantage when clearing the field into the first turn of the 1 1/16-mile race. She widened on an easy lope from there, finishing an eased-up nine lengths ahead of runner-up Tuttipaesi. Kitten’s Point was third and Wave Theory was fourth.

“When she jumped out of there well, I took advantage of it,” said Smith. “It was all her from there on. I was very comfortable the whole way. I never felt any challenges. I saw myself over there [on the infield JumboTron] and said, ‘OK, that’s enough.’”

The win margin was the fourth-biggest in race history and the largest since Sis City won the 2005 renewal by 10 1/2 lengths. Myrtlewood still has the mark after winning the 1936 inaugural by 12 lengths.

Emollient returned $14.40 after finishing in 1:43.49 over Polytrack. She joins her Juddmonte stablemate, Close Hatches, as a prime candidate for the May 3 Oaks at Churchill Downs. Close Hatches remained unbeaten for Juddmonte and Mott in winning the Grade 2 Gazelle on Saturday at Aqueduct.

With the Ashland victory, Emollient earned 100 points in the new system for eligibility into the Oaks field, which is limited to 14.

Emollient was coming off a 30-length defeat in the Gulfstream Park Oaks the prior Saturday, leading Mott to draw a line through the race and give her another chance. Running back on such short rest is out of character for Mott, but he said earlier in the week he felt the filly just spun her wheels over the Gulfstream dirt and was deserving of a quick return.

Emollient is a homebred by Empire Maker out of Soothing Touch, by Touch Gold. The bay filly had won 2 of 5 prior starts, with the Ashland marking her first stakes win.

The lopsided finish was in stark contrast to the toteboard as the Ashland field went to the post. Spring In the Air was a lukewarm 4-1 favorite, with Tuttipaesi 9-2 and three more fillies, including Emollient, at 6-1.

Three fillies were early scratches, including two also-eligibles from the original oversubscribed cast of 16.

Ontrack attendance on a breezy, mostly sunny afternoon was 32,564.

The $2 exacta (13-1) paid $128.40; the $1 trifecta (13-1-7) returned $333.90; and the 10-cent superfecta (13-1-7-12) was worth $303.69.

Howe Great wins turf allowance

Earlier Saturday, Howe Great ($13.20), with Alan Garcia aboard, pulled a mild upset in a $67,878 grass allowance when forcing all the pace and finishing a half-length safe of a torrid late run by 36-1 shot Middie. Air Support, always prominent, was just another nose back in third.

Howe Great, the only 4-year-old in a field of graded-caliber older horses, completed the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:47.89 over a firm turf. A homebred by Hat Trick, the colt is owned by Team Valor International and trained by Graham Motion, the soon-to-split tandem that won the $10 million Dubai World Cup one week beforehand with Animal Kingdom.

Clearly the disappointments in the race were Al Khali, fifth as the 2-1 favorite, and Turallure, sixth as the 5-2 second choice when making his first start in more than nine months.