The Spring of every year can be about building young racehorses. For trainer Todd Pletcher, one of the focal points is constructing a solid Nest.
Fabulously successful over the years, this Texas-born Thoroughbred trainer has proven to be one of the best in the game. Having won the Kentucky Oaks four times in the past ( 2004, 2007, 2013, 2021), Pletcher has another prime-time contender again this year.
Nest is a wonderfully bred filly that has plenty of people smiling. Three wins and a third-place finish in four career starts thus far has spoken volumes about the potential this daughter of Curlin possesses.
“When you break your maiden in your first career start in a mile and a sixteenth race that says a little something”, says the man with over 5,000 career wins. “Her pedigree on both sides says stamina and we think she has a chance to become a really nice racehorse.”
Nest will get a chance to prove herself in the Central Bank Ashland at Keeneland on Friday, April 8. Pletcher used this very same grade 1 race just a year ago as a springboard for Malathaat as she earned the 2021 Kentucky Oaks crown with a brilliant run on the first Friday in May.
“We have been locked in on the Ashland for some time now”, says Pletcher. “Nest has had a really good winter and early spring. She ran big at Tampa (Suncoast Stakes February 12) and has continued to train well. The Kentucky Oaks has been our goal and we know the Ashland is a great spot to prepare.”
The Ashland has produced thirty-five fillies that went on to wear the blanket of lilies awarded to the winner of the Kentucky Oaks. Pletcher will be looking for a record-tying fifth win (Woody Stephens 1959, 1960, 1963, 1978, 1981) in the world’s most famous race for three-year-old females. But first, the cunning conditioner is concentrating only on building a Nest in the Ashland.
“She’s has great tactical speed and is no doubt a two-turn filly”, says Pletcher. “This is a grade 1 race that will be very valuable in her development. Competing in a race like this is always good and getting a grade 1 win is even better.”
Nest is currently the 2-1 favorite on the morning line and is slated to face seven others. The Central Bank Ashland is carded as race nine with an expected post time of 5:16 pm eastern.