Karlovy Vary goes wire-to-wire at Ashland Stakes

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Karlovy Vary took an early lead and easily beat favorite Stephanie's Kitten on Saturday in the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes for fillies at Keeneland.

The 3-year-old brown filly's next stop is likely the Kentucky Oaks on May 4 after a change in strategy has netted her two straight victories, even though questions remain about her abilities on dirt after the win in 1:44.82 over 1 1-16 miles on the poly surface.

Karlovy Vary, at 15-to-1 odds, set the pace near the rail, took a two-length lead over Hard Not to Like in the stretch and won by three-quarters of a length. Karlovy Vary paid $32.80, $11.60 and $5.60, Hard Not to Like returned $9.80 and $4.60, and Stephanie's Kitten, who went off at even money, paid $2.40 to show.