Coming out on top in a thrilling finish Lady Apple saw off a quality field to claim the 2020 renewal of the Houston Ladies Classic at Sam Houston.
Following in the hoofprints of her illustrious barn-mate Midnight Bisou, who won this race before twice scoring at Grade One level last season, the Phoenix Thoroughbreds and KatieRich Farm owned filly recorded her fourth Grade Three victory in a dramatic finish.
Piloted by her usual big race jockey Ricardo Santana Junior, she took up her berth in gate four with Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress on her inside and Cotillion winner Street Band on her outside. Breaking on terms, Santana Junior was happy for Serengetti Empress to go and set the fractions settling Lady Apple off the pace in third. Tracking the leader and travelling well the pair were momentarily short of room as the field made the turn. With Street Band pressing on the outside, Santana Junior made a play up the rail and Steve Asmussen’s charge was brave enough to take advantage. Brave too to give it her all as four horses entered the final furlong in line with Lady Apple proving the best late to claim her sixth win in eights starts.
“Lady Apple had a very nice last year,” said a clearly delighted Steve Asmussen post-race. “But pedigree wise we expected her to be a better four-year-old and for her to beat the field today, we are so proud of the race she ran today.
“When Midnight Bisou started her year out here and ended up with an Eclipse award, we will try and follow a similar plan and go to Oaklawn with her for the Bayakoa (Stakes).”
The Bayakoa Stakes is scheduled for February 17 and a track where Lady Apple is unbeaten in three starts.