Lady Apple continued her ascension in the three-year-old filly ranks and stamped her Kentucky Oaks ticket in Friday’s $500,000 Fantasy (G3) at Oaklawn Park, closing fast up the rail to post a one-length win. The bay daughter of Curlin stretched her win streak to three for Phoenix Thoroughbred III and KatieRich Stables and Ricardo Santana Jr. was up for Steve Asmussen.
Stakes-placed but winless from four starts last summer, Lady Apple returned from a six-month layoff with a maiden score at Oaklawn on February 7. She comfortably defeated entry-level allowance rivals while stretching out to two turns six weeks later and has now won three straight, earning $452,200 from a 7-3-2-0 record.
Off as the 9-1 fifth choice in an 11-horse field, Lady Apple saved ground and stalked behind the first pack of runners as 6-5 favorite Motion Emotion flashed forward and established fractions in :23.16, :46.76 and 1:11.08 on a short lead. Motion Emotion turned back a serious challenge from 3-1 second choice Brill leaving the far turn but that rival remained in the hunt along the outside through the stretch.
Lady Apple launched her bid after straightening for home, advancing boldly along the inside to a threatening position by midstretch. She wore down Motion Emotion in the latter stages and won going away under the wire, completing 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.88.
Motion Emotion held second by three-quarters of a length over Brill. It was another 4 1/2-length margin back to 5-1 Orra Moor in fourth.
A major final prep race in the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series, the Fantasy awarded points on a 100-40-20-10 scale to the top four finishers. Lady Apple and Motion Emotion, who increased her point total to 60 following a runner-up March 9 Honeybee (G3), have both qualified for the 14-horse field on May 3.
Bred in Kentucky by KatieRich Stables, Lady Apple hails from the Grade 2-placed Clever Trick mare Miss Mary Apples and counts stakes winners Dr. Diamonds Prize and Miss Red Delicious as half-siblings.