Ashleyluvssugar is set for next Saturday's Grade II, $200,000 San Luis Rey Stakes for older horses at a mile and a half on turf, and he'll be reunited with Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, who missed riding the six-year-old in the California Cup Turf Classic Jan. 28 while still recovering from hip replacement surgery.
Stevens had ridden Ashleyluvssugar five straight times and nine times in his last 10 starts before Flavien Prat took over to win the Cal Cup Turf Classic. Prat rides in Dubai next Saturday.
Ashleyluvssugar, a California-bred son of Game Plan out of the 16-year-old dam Ashley's Folly, who resides at Magali Farms in Santa Ynez, worked five furlongs on Santa Anita's main track Friday in 1:01 under exercise rider Jose Aragon.
“I got him a little bit quicker than that, but I like the way he did it,” said Peter Eurton, who trains Ashley for owners/breeders Sharon Alesia, Bran Jam Stable and Ciaglia Racing, LLC.
Ashleyluvssugar has been a mainstay with Team Eurton since day one. Not only did the bay gelding win the San Luis Rey under Stevens in 2015, overall he has a 9-3-3 record from 20 starts with earnings of $1,145,004.
Understandably, it's become more than a business relationship between trainer and horse.
“There's always an emotional attachment for a horse you've had since he was a baby,” Eurton allowed. “We raised him and we've had his brothers and sisters. I'm going to have three other siblings (Ashley's Sassy, Ashley's Bambino and Ashley's Cutie) at the race track at the same time.
“I would love to take a photo of those four galloping together down the lane. That would be so cool.
“They're all different, every single one of them, but he is obviously the best of the bunch. The four out of that mare all won maiden special (weight races). There was a horse years back that got loose and jumped over the fence at HollywoodPark and almost wound up in the infield lake. That was his brother, Ashley's Bambino. He came out of that episode to win another race.
“Ashley's Folly is just a good mare and we've got a lot of emotion involved with her.”
Just like all her siblings.
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