Robert and Beverly Lewis' A. P. Adventure, in her second career start, made the $106,800 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) her own adventure before rallying to win the 1 1/16-mile test for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita Sunday.
The well-touted daughter of A.P. Indy, ridden by Alex Solis for trainer Wally Dollase, looked beaten at the head of the stretch. But she came on powerfully in the run for home to nab the wobbly pacesetter Salty Romance in deep stretch to win by 3 1/2 lengths in 1:44 1/5.
"Alex said she was really green," Dollase said. "Then he belted her a couple of times and she took off, but she really needs experience. At the top of the stretch I was concerned. I thought, 'This is the filly I'm so high on and she's sitting there waiting on the horses.' Then all of a sudden a bolt of lightning took place and she took off like a rocket. So we got lucky today, that's for sure."
Dollase said A. P. Adventure would be pointed to the $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) at one mile on Feb. 15 and an anticipated meeting with undefeated Breeders Cup Juvenile Filly (gr. I) champion Halfbridled.
Salty Romance, ridden by Mike Smith, held on for second, a half-length ahead of Wildwood Flower and Patrick Valenzuela. Stellar Jayne was fourth.
A. P. Adventure broke awkwardly and was squeezed by Penny's Fortune to her inside coming away from the gate, finding herself last in the six-horse field going through the first turn. Easing forward while racing wide down the backstretch, A.P. Adventure was fifth, but still trailed Salty Romance about four lengths through fractions of :23 1/5, :46 4/5 and 1:11 1/5.
Salty Romance looked like a winner at the head of the stretch while A.P. Adventure labored, traveling four wide around the turn. Suddenly though, she found her best stride and came motoring down the lane under steady pressure from Solis, passing Wildwood Flower and then Salty Romance, who drifted to the outside and shortened stride in the final sixteenth of a mile.
Salty Romance carried 120 pounds, five more than A. P. Adventure.
"We had a rough start," Solis said of the winner. "She got squeezed really hard leaving the gate. After that I just took my time on her. At the half-mile pole she was running easy and I realized I had a chance of catching (Salty Romance). This filly has so much untapped class and ability that she just ran the other filly down in the stretch."
A. P. Adventure won her only other start, a maiden special weight event at Santa Anita, by five lengths after breaking poorly on Oct. 30. Sunday's victory was worth $64,080 to the Lewises, who purchased the winner for $425,000 at Fasig-Tipton in February. Lazy E Ranch in Kentucky bred A.P. Adventure, who is from the Fappiano mare Nataliano.
The 4-5 favorite paid $3.80, $2.40 and $2.20. Salty Romance returned $3 and $2.40. Wildwood Fire's show was $2.60. The $2 exacta was worth $10.20.