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Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ “leading ladies” in Stakes action.

Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ “leading ladies” in Stakes action.

Multiple Graded Stakes winner Lady Apple spearheads Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ two-pronged bid for Stakes honours this weekend.

The five-year-old will take on six rivals as she defends her Houston Ladies Classic title on Sunday. Twelve months ago at Sam Houston the daughter of Curlin put in a stunning display to beat a star-studded field that included Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress and Grade One winner Street Band. She now has amassed over $1million in prize money following six career victories – four at Graded Stakes level.

A third-placed finish in the Spanky Broussard at Fair Grounds last time out serves as a solid prep for her run at the weekend.

“She needed that race, and I had no problem with the result,” said trainer Steve Asmussen. “Lady Apple is a quality filly who loves the track surface at Sam Houston and is training really well.”

Lady Apple will break from post position four under Stewart Elliott.

Twenty-four hours earlier another Phoenix owned, Amussen charge will be out for Stakes glory. Dual winner and G1 placed Lady Lilly will take her place in the Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn. The exciting three-year-old filly makes just her fourth career start having won on her debut at Saratoga before finishing third in the Spinaway at the same venue. She has since won an Alowance Optional Claimer at Keeneland and Saturday’s challenge represents another step towards a possible bid for the Kentucky Oaks.