Tough as she is talented Lady Apple landed the second Graded Stakes victory of her career by coming out on the right side of a stretch battle to land the Iowa Oaks on Friday evening.
The runner owned in partnership by Phoenix Thoroughbreds and KatieRich Farms is quickly gaining the reputation as one of the most improving three-year-old fillies in the US, lining up at Prarie Meadows having already landed the Grade Three Fantasy stakes at Oaklawn before finishing third in the Kentucky Oaks.
Ridden by regular pilot Ricardo Santana Junior, who was winning on the daughter of Curlin for the fourth time in five starts, the pair got their customary good start from the gates holding their position by the rail to sit in second through the first turn. There they would stay just in behind fellow even money favourite Ulele, until the field turned for home. It was at that point Santana Junior asked the Steve Asmussen trained runner for her maximum effort. Lady Apple drew alongside the long-time leader and once again showed the determination that has been a significant part of her past successes to see off her rival after a protracted battle to win by a length.
“First I want to thank the owners, Steve and the team for the great work they have done with this filly. “said delighted Santana Junior post-race. “We were always confident with this filly, and she’s come a long way. Today she looked really good and that she would love this track. She took me to the position I was, and I just waited until the turn for home, and she gave me a nice end.
“Ulele is a really nice horse for connections, and I knew turning for home that was the filly I had to beat, so I just tried to keep her close to me until then, and in the end, the best filly won the race.”