King Kreesa, Lubash Continue Rivalry in Ashley T. Cole

King Kreesa, Lubash Continue Rivalry in Ashley T. Cole
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Familiar foes King Kreesa and Lubash, separated by a head in their most recent showdown, will meet for the sixth time on Sunday at Belmont Park in the $125,000 Ashley T. Cole.

The Ashley T. Cole, race 4 on the card, is a 1 1/8-mile turf race for New York-breds 3-years-old and up. The $125,000 John Hettinger for New York-bred fillies and mares on the grass was carded as race 9.

On August 24, King Kreesa and Lubash ran 1-2 from start to finish in the West Point presented by Trustco Bank at Saratoga Race Course, with King Kreesa digging in to prevail by a head. The West Point was King Kreesa's 5-year-old debut and first start for trainer David Donk.

Earlier in his career, King Kreesa won five stakes for trainer Jeremiah Englehart, including victories over Lubash in the 2013 Kingston, Grade 3 Poker, and Mohawk.

Donk admitted after the West Point that he would have liked to have given King Kreesa one more workout before the race, his first start in more than eight months. King Kreesa exited the West Point in fine fettle, prompting Donk to select the Ashley T. Cole for his next start.

"[The West Point] was a really brave race for him, especially to get hooked through the stretch and still be game enough to win it," said Donk, who trains King Kreesa for Gerald and Susan Kresa. "I was curious as to how he'd come of it, but he was bright and steady and has trained very well. I knew a day or two after the [West Point] that we'd point to [the Ashley T. Cole]."

Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride King Kreesa, the 9-5 favorite on the morning line, from post position 7.

Lubash, a 7-year-old owned by Aliyu Ben J Stables, has one victory over King Kreesa, which came in their first meeting, the 2013 Grade 3 Fort Marcy at Belmont. Since then, he has added scores in an optional claimer in April at Aqueduct Racetrack and in a no-conditions allowance two starts back in July at Belmont.

"He lost to a great horse [in the West Point]; we know King Kreesa is always tough," said Christophe Lorieul, assistant to trainer Christophe Clement. "Lubash did nothing wrong. He runs good almost anywhere, and we just have to follow the pattern."

Junior Alvarado has the assignment aboard Lubash, who drew post 3 as the 2-1 second choice.

King Kreesa's and Lubash's competition will include Kharafa, winner of the 2013 Ashley T. Cole. Later that fall he took the Three Coins Up against open company at Aqueduct, and this year has garnered the Kingston in May at Belmont. He enters this year's Ashley T. Cole off a second against all comers in the Forbidden Apple in July at Belmont and a third against statebreds in a no-conditions allowance on August 3 at Saratoga.

The winner of the August 3 allowance, Notacatbutallama, also was entered in the Ashley T. Cole. Notacatbutallama, who took a pair of graded stakes as a 3-year-old, was third, beaten one length, in the West Point.

The Ashley T. Cole entries also include Front, fourth in the August 3 allowance, as well as Effinex and Spa City Fever, who were entered for the main track only.

In the John Hettinger, 7-5 favorite Effie Trinket will seek her second straight victory in the 1 1/8-mile turf race. Eight others are slated to line up against the multiple graded stakes winner, notably Selenite, who took a division of the New York Stallion Series at Saratoga last time out; Dreaming of Cara, most recently second in the Saratoga Dew on August 14 on the main track at the Spa; Invading Humor, who carries a three-race win streak into her stakes debut, and Mah Jong Maddnes, who took the restricted Mount Vernon in May. Carameaway and Get Goregeous were entered for the main track only.

The field for the $125,000 Ashley T. Cole (NYB):

PP  Horse                            Jockey               Wgt      Trainer            Odds
1     Effinex (NY) (MTO)       R Maragh          118      J A Jerkens      3-1
2     Front (NY)                     R Maragh          120      J A Jerkens     10-1
3     Lubash (NY)                  J Alvarado        120       C Clement       2-1
4     Kharafa (NY)                 L Saez              123       T A Hills           4-1
5     Notacatbutallama (NY)  J R Velazquez  120      T A Pletcher     7-2
6     Spa City Fever (NY) (MTO) TBD            120      D Jacobson      6-5
7     King Kreesa (NY)          I Ortiz, Jr.          123      D G Donk         9-5
The field for the $125,000 John Hettinger (NYB):
PP  Horse                        Jockey           Wgt      Trainer            Odds
1     Frosty Bay (NY)        M Franco       120       D Schettino    12-1
2     Stock Fund (NY)       L Saez           116       C F Martin      10-1
3a   Carameaway (NY) (MTO)  TBD      123       M E Friedman 20-1
4     Selenite (NY)            I Ortiz, Jr.       116       D G Donk       10-1
5     Strike Accord (NY)   A S Arroyo      116       J C Kimmel    15-1
6     Effie Trinket (NY)     J L Ortiz          120       R A Violette, Jr. 7-5
7a   Dreaming of Cara (NY) C Velasquez 116    M E Friedman 20-1
8     Get Gorgeous (NY) (MTO)    TBD   119       D G Donk       3-1
9     Mah Jong Maddnes (NY)  J Lezcano  123    J Morrison     7-2
10    Princess Mara (NY)   J Alvarado     116       P J Quick      15-1
11    Invading Humor (NY) R Maragh     120       B N Levine     4-1
a-Coupled entry
Source: NYRA Communications 

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