03/14/2009 12:00AM

Superior speed carries Heart Ashley


Fair Grounds shipper Heart Ashley, under C.C. Lopez, scores a wire-to-wire 2 1/2-length victory in the Cicada.P

Taking full advantage of an alert break under vaunted speed rider C.C. Lopez, Heart Ashley outsprinted odds-on Dream Play down the backstretch and never looked back to win Saturday's Grade 3, $107.300 Cicada Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Aqueduct.

Heart Ashley, making her stakes debut after winning a first-level allowance at Fair Grounds for Steve Asmussen in her first start of the year, set a rapid pace of 22.37 and 44.71 seconds, and maintained a clear advantage through the lane to win the six-furlong Cicada by 2 1`/2 lengths in a brisk 1:09.68 over a fast inner track. She paid $11.80 as the third choice, and earned $64,380 for Zayat Stables.

"I didn't think I was faster than the one-horse," said Lopez, referring to Dream Play, "but when my horse hopped out the way she did, and I didn't see Dream Play in front of me right away, I meant to get in front of them and make it difficult.

"She was ticking right off without me even asking and she just danced away from them."

Dream Play broke last from the rail in the field of six, rushed up and was taken outside, causing Daily Star and Purrfect Bluff to steady down the backstretch, and gave futile chase to the wire as the 3-4 favorite. Following a stewards' inquiry, no change was made to the order of finish.

In a race that featured virtually no position change throughout, One Smokin' Lady held third after chasing three wide, followed by Daily Star, Purrfect Bluff and Love That Dance.