Skip to content

Leslie’s Rose earns Kentucky Oaks (G1) berth with sparkling Ashland S. (G1) victory

April 6, 2024

Leslie's Rose wins the Grade 1 Ashland S. at Keeneland - Renee Torbit/Coady photography

Leslie’s Rose wins the Grade 1 Ashland S. at Keeneland – Renee Torbit/Coady photography

Into Mischief got his second Grade 1 winner of the week Friday at Keeneland when Leslie’s Rose took command in the upper stretch en route to a 3-length victory in the $600,000 Central Bank Ashland S. (G1).

The 3-year-old filly earned 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks Challenge series, assuring herself a spot in the starting gate for the May 3rd race at Churchill Downs.

Leslie’s Rose’s win comes just six days after Into Mischief’s Laurel River turned in a record-setting performance in the Dubai World Cup (G1). Into Mischief has three winners thus far in 2024, and with Imagination the favorite in Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby (G1), could add a fourth to that total.

Leslie’s Rose was an even third in the one-mile Davona Dale S. (G2) a month ago, but that performance didn’t dissuade her connections from the Ashland. She broke well from post 3 and made her way to the fence, just behind pacesetter Halina’s Forte, going around the first turn. Irad Ortiz, Jr. held his filly’s position down the backstretch and into the final bend.

Midway on that turn Halina’s Forte began to give way, forcing Leslie’s Rose to swing around her. After finding clear running turning for home, she powered away from the field and was pulling away from Just F Y I, last year’s 2-year-old filly champion, in the final furlong.

The time for the 1 1/16-miles on a fast track was 1:43.85.

“She’s always been a high-quality filly,” said trainer Todd Pletcher. “She’s always trained like she wants to run longer and I think she proved that today, getting the opportunity to go two turns and finishing with good energy. So, fingers crossed (for the Kentucky Oaks).”

Owned by Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm LLC, Leslie’s Rose has won three of four starts and earned $467,800. The bay filly, bred by John Gunther and Eurowest Bloodstock, sold to Pope for $1.15 million at the 2022 Keeneland September Yearling sale. Wildwood Rose, dam of Leslie’s Rose, is a sister to Florida Derby (G1) winner Materiality and Gazelle S. (G2) winner My Miss Sophia.