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Japanese buyer swoops for Ashland winner

LILACS And Lace, who was a leading fancy for this season's Kentucky Oaks after taking the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland, has been sold to an undisclosed Japanese breeder and exported to Japan in foal to Henrythenavigator.

The three-year--old daughter of Flower Alley sprung to prominence at the turn of the year when winning the California Oaks, after which owner James Covello purchased a majority share in the filly from her breeders, Judy Hicks and Kathryn Nikkel, and turned her over to trainer John Terranova.

She later ran fourth in the Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks before pulling off a 48/1 surprise in the Ashland Stakes on Keeneland's Polytrack. However, she trailed home 12th in the Kentucky Oaks after seemingly failing to act on the dirt. Inall, she won three nine starts  and despite her early exit from racing, reportedly retires sound.

The sale of Lilacs And Lace further illustrates the growing prominence of Japanese buyers in the market for elite bloodstock; in the past year alone, Grade 1 winners Ave ($1.4 million), Dubai Majesty ($1.1 million), Gabby's Golden Gal ($1.25 million), Serious Attitude ($1.85 million) and Wickedly Perfect ($800,000) have all been secured by Japanese interests.

Japanese buyers were also active at last year's Tattersalls December Sale headed by Katsumi Yoshida, who spent 1.4 million guineas.

Bred in Kentucky, Lilacs And Lace is a half-sister to the stakes-placed Western Revenge and out of Refinement, an unplaced daughter of Seattle Slew and Grade 1 winner Stella Madrid.




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