Race of the Week 2017
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From Coast to Coast

Jackson Bend Returns, but R Free Roll Shines

Jackson Bend 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Spotswire
As a writer, sometimes you just “know” what your storyline will be. Such was the case when previewing yesterday’s Summit of Speed Preview card at Calder. In my mind, I could just picture writing about Jackson Bend’s triumphant return to the races. The reality, however, turned out to be much different. 
The gutsy little horse that could did not embarrass himself, but he did not quite turn in the performance most expected from him. At the break of the Ponche Handicap, he settled in right behind the leaders as has always been his typical style. As the field turned for home, jockey Fernando Jara called on him to go but Jackson Bend found his best stride a little too late, finishing 5th, 3 ½ lengths behind upset winner Black Diamond Cat. Given the 9 month layoff, that was a respectable effort with which to move forward.
No, Jackson Bend did not put in a headline stealing performance, but R Free Roll certainly did when she lined up to take on the boys in the 6 furlong Unbridled Stakes. Under jockey Antonio Gallardo, the bay Rockport Harbor filly led the field on a merry chase, increasing her advantage at every call before crossing the wire a decisive 6 ¾ lengths in front of runner-up Rockyshomerun. Sr. Quisqueyano and Two T’s At Two B, two colts that ruled Calder early in their 2-year old seasons, finished 4th and 7th respectively. The Ralph Ziadie trained filly blitzed through early splits of 21:31 and 44:01 before stopping the clock in 1.10:19. 
Owned by Averill Racing LLC and Silver Oak Stable LLC, R Free Roll is no stranger to taking on the boys. In just her third career start, she faced off with colts in a 5 ½ furlong NW1X for 2-year olds. Just like in the Unbridled, she shot straight to the lead and showed the field her rump the entire way around, remaining clear at the wire to win by 3 ¼ lengths. In 7 career starts, she is 3-2-1 with two of her wins coming against the boys. Her only off the board finish came in the Joe O’Farrell when she faltered late.
The Unbridled Stakes is the local prep for the $150,000 G3 Carry Back Stakes for 3-year olds. Last year, Fort Loudon outlasted sprint champion Trinniberg in a thrilling stretch drive that saw the top two finish well clear of the rest of the field. Should R Free Roll compete in this year’s Carry Back, she could face several of the same rivals she dusted in the Unbridled. Facing the boys again should not be a problem as she has already shown that doing so is all in a day’s work. 


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Another impressive and fast filly!

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Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.


Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Ashley began her time with Horse Racing Nation blogging as The Florida Filly. Using that moniker, she mainly covered racing in South Florida but also blogged about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offered her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. A move north to New Hampshire began both a new chapter in both Ashley's personal life and professional life. She currently pens the new From Coast to Coast blog for HRN, which is simply a revamped version of The Florida Filly. Don't let the new look and name change fool you, though. Ashley still brings to the table the same great coverage as From Coast to Coast as she did for The Florida Filly. Ashley also participates as a voter in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.


An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley is from Central Georgia but is currently living in New Hampshire with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. A stay-at-home mom, Ashley juggles parenting with blogging and her other passions. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is a fervent football fan, enjoys reading and studying history, and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.

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