It didn’t go exactly according to plan but at the end, Spendarella got the job done in the Appalachian Stakes Presented by Japan Racing Association (G2T) April 9 at Keenelandrising to win by 1 3/4 lengths and remain undefeated on a frosty day in the Bluegrass.
A few snowflakes were flying as the eight 3-year-old fillies went into the starting gate for the 1-mile test over the Keeneland turf, rated “good” after off-and-on rain throughout the week.
Jockey Tyler Gaffalione got Spendarella off cleanly but was unable to seize the lead that helped her to victory in her previous start, the Herecomesthebride Stakes (G3T) at Gulfstream Park March 5. Glenall got the jump on her rivals and led the way down the backstretch under Julien Leparoux with Spendarella just behind.
When asked turning for home, Spendarella quickly got by the leader and easily held off the late bid of Dolce Zel and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. Skims came from next-last to finish third, another 3/4 length in arrears, as the 1 mile went in 1:37.41.
Spendarella, a daughter of Karakontie out of the Unusual Heat mari Spanish Bunny improved to 3-for-3 and trainer Graham Motion said her future appears unlimited.
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“She’s pretty phenomenal,” Motion said. “The way she did it today, without any cover.”
Gaffalione said he wasn’t troubled to find himself just off the early lead.
“It didn’t bother me and when I asked her, she really produced a solid turn of foot,” he said.
“She was going into the first turn very comfortably. She was in a great rhythm, and that other horse (Glenall) coming up inside didn’t bother her at all. She relaxed beautifully and had some turn of foot.”
Motion said he decided to put Spendarella in the Herecomesthebride off a maiden win Feb. 2 at Gulfstream Park because “we really liked the way she was training. I did throw her into the deep end in that.”
She responded with a gate-to-wire victory, winning by 1 1/2 lengths.
Motion said he hasn’t set a course for Spendarella for the balance of the year, though he sees little limit to her potential.
“I’ve heard mention of Royal Ascot,” he said, “but I don’t know about that. I’ll have to talk to Wesley,” referring to fellow trainer Wesley Ward, who pioneered American participation at the Royal meeting.
Spendarella was bred in New York by Gainsway Thoroughbreds LTD and races for Gainsway Stable.
Dolce Zel, one of two fillies in the race from the first crop of Zelzal came to the Appalachian off a victory in the Florida Oaks (G3T) at Tampa Bay Downs March 12. The other, Ouraika also trained by Motion, finished seventh in the Keeneland heat.
Video: Appalachian S. Presented by Japan Racing Association (G2T)