A field of 11 sophomore fillies has been entered to go a mile over Keeneland’s turf on Sunday in the $200,000 Appalachian Stakes (G2), and headlining the group is undefeated Rushing Fall.
The Chad Brown-trained filly racked up three victories during her two-year-old campaign, breaking her maiden at Belmont Park in September, taking the Jessamine Stakes (G3) at Keeneland in October and wrapping up the year with a three-quarter length score in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Fillies (G1) at Del Mar on November 3.
Rushing Fall was given some time off following that triumph and returned to the worktab in mid-February. The More Than Ready lass recently recorded a bullet five furlongs in 1:00 over the firm turf at Palm Meadows Training Center on March 31, and keeps regular rider Javier Castellano in the irons for her sophomore debut.
Daddy Is a Legend also returns to action in the Appalachian for trainer George Weaver, and gets first-time Lasix for her 2018 bow. The dark bay daughter of Scat Daddy took three tries to break her maiden, getting the job done at Keeneland last October, then shipped to Del Mar for a rallying score in the Jimmy Durante Stakes (G3) in her juvenile finale on November 25. Joe Bravo has been aboard for her last three starts and stays in the saddle Sunday.
Thewayiam brings a three-race win streak into this spot for trainer Graham Motion. The bay miss debuted in her native France, breaking her maiden and finishing third in a listed contest, but shipped stateside and triumphed in her first outing at Keeneland last October. The bay daughter of Thewayyouare closed out her two-year-old season with a fading 11th in the Jimmy Durante, but is three-for-three this year thanks to victories in the Ginger Brew Stakes, Sweetest Chant Stakes (G3) and Herecomesthebride Stakes (G3), all over Gulfstream Park’s turf. Jose Ortiz piloted Thewayiam in those three efforts and has the call Sunday.
Stakes winners Dixie Moon and Ultima D also ran in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last year, finishing sixth and 12th, respectively. Trainer Catherine Day-Phillips saddled Dixie Moon to a nose score in the Ontario Lassie Stakes over Woodbine’s synthetic Tapeta for her juvenile finale, while Ultima D makes her first start since the Breeders’ Cup in this spot for conditioner Wesley Ward. Mike Smith rides Dixie Moon and Julio Garcia holds the reins on Ultima D.
Goodthingstaketime just missed in a maiden and then the Curragh Stakes (Ire-G3) in her native Ireland last year, and two races later showed up at Del Mar on November 2 to break her maiden going a mile on the green by three parts of a length. Subsequently switched from trainer James Stack to Jorge Abreu, the Canford Cliffs lass made her sophomore bow a close head second in the Florida Oaks (G3) last out at Tampa Bay Downs under returning jockey Joel Rosario.
Beach Waltz ran second in a maiden claimer on the main track last November at Churchill Downs but returned a month later to break her maiden by a head for trainer Mike Maker while trying the turf at Gulfstream Park. The Treasure Beach filly followed up with a neck second against allowance/optional claiming rivals in her seasonal bow and most recently captured the February 17 Miss Preakness Starter Stakes at Gulfstream. Tyler Gaffalione will be holding the reins for the first time as Beach Waltz tries graded rivals here.
Lounge Act is two-for-two on turf, breaking her maiden and taking an allowance/optional claimer, and proved her dislike of the main track when beaten double-digit lengths on Gulfstream Park’s dirt and Woodbine’s synthetic Tapeta. The Brad Cox pupil will attempt to keep her grass record perfect in the Appalachian under returning rider Florent Geroux.
Heavenly Love romped by 5 1/2 lengths in last October’s Alcibiades Stakes (G1) over Keeneland’s main track, but has been well-beaten in three starts since on dirt. Trainer Mark Casse sends the Malibu Moon filly back to the turf, a surface over which she broke her maiden by five lengths at Kentucky Downs last September. Julien Leparoux has the call.
Rounding out the Appalachian field are Grade 2-placed Cash Out, beaten by others in this field in three out of her last four races, and She’s Pretty Lucky, sixth while making her turf bow in the Herecomesthebride.