Joseph Allen LLC’s Apple Betty scooted through an opening on the rail entering the stretch of Sunday’s $125,000 Dowager Stakes (G3) at Keeneland and pulled off under jockey John Velazquez to record a 3 1/2-length victory.
The Shug McGaughey trainee settled into a stalking spot just outside pacesetter Daddy’s Boo through the opening half-mile in :26.37 and :51.21. Bootsy’s Girl was running just behind and to the inside, and the trio they continued in that fashion first trip around the backstretch.
Entering the lane for the first time, Daring Duchess moved up to the outside of Daddy’s Boy and Apple Betty slid over to the rail as Bootsy’s Girl faded. Velazquez maintained a tight hold on Apple Betty second time down the backstretch as the leader posted splits of 1:15.77, 1:41.27 and 2:07.09. At one point, the reinsman was forced to jerk Apple Betty back from running up on the heels of Daddy’s Boo.
Apple Betty impatiently waited her chance rounding the bend and burst through when the rail opened up. The Galileo filly powered away from her rivals, drawing off to finish 1 1/2 miles over the firm turf in 2:30.80.
Sent off the 3-1 second choice in the 10-strong field, Apple Betty returned $8 for the win. Promotional followed in second, 1 1/4 lengths up on 5-2 favorite Lottie. Grateful was another 5 3/4 lengths behind in fourth, with Coco Channel, Place des Vosges, Daring Duchess, Polar Vortex, Daddy’s Boo and Bootsy’s Girl completing the order under the wire.
Apple Betty began her career in France, breaking her maiden at second asking, before going on a year later to capture a listed event and place in a pair of Group 3s. The four-year-old miss ran fourth against Group 2 rivals in her final start overseas, then appeared stateside in time for last year’s Dowager Stakes, where she just missed when second by a nose.
That concluded Apple Betty’s sophomore campaign, and this season the bay filly has finished third in the Sheepshead Bay Stakes (G2) and won the River Memories Stakes. She improved her career record to 14-5-1-4, $290,614 when taking the Dowager off a fourth-placing in the Waya Stakes (G3) at Saratoga on August 5.
Bred in Ireland by Absolutelyfabulous Syndicate, Apple Betty is out of the Group 3-placed Mozart mare Absolutelyfabulous. That mare is a listed winner who also produced full siblings to Apple Betty in Magician, hero of the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) and Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-G1), and Outstanding, queen of the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Invitational (G1).
This black-type rich female family also includes Group 1 vixens Listen and Sequoyah, the latter of whom is the dam of multiple Group 1-scoring sire Henrythenavigator.
Shug McGaughey, trainer Apple Betty, winner
“When I ran her at Saratoga (in the August 5 Waya [G3]), I ran her back too quick, and she got pushed along a little bit. We gave her the break with this race in mind.
“She had trained really strong. My main concern is just getting her to settle. There was some speed in here, so she was able to lay in behind. You just gotta let her do her thing. She was in behind horses today, and the way (jockey John Velazquez) was able to wait for that hole and be able to finish was a big key.”
John Velazquez, jockey Apple Betty, winner
“She did it pretty good. She’s been kind of fighting the lead the whole time (in her previous races). We decided to take her back a little bit since there was a little more speed. They didn’t go very fast, but I got her to settle behind other horses. Once I got her through (on the inside to move toward the lead) at the quarter-pole, she did it pretty easily.”
Corey Lanerie, jockey Promotional, second
“We had some traffic down the lane and I was doing a lot of steering in and out. My filly ran great and I think the winner had to overcome a little adversity, too. All in all, we were second best today.
“What a tremendous race she ran. With a smooth trip, who knows? In these mile and a half races, you always expect them to go slow (on the lead) but you never really know what is going to happen. I rode from the start and found myself looking for cover (behind horses) and once we got there, we just had to play the cards we were dealt and try to find a seam (to get through) turning for home.”
Jose Ortiz, jockey Lottie, third
“Beautiful (trip). She broke good and put me into a good position. They went a little slow early but they picked up the pace in the backstretch a little bit. The winner had a perfect trip and when Johnny (Velazquez) asked her to go, she kicked on really, really well. My filly was outrun but she stayed and she ran her race. My filly’s not push-button, she’s a grinder; you’ve got to really ride her and she’ll eventually get going. But when I saw that Johnny got through, it was over. He had a lot of horse.”