The promising A. P. Adventure headlines an outstanding field of nine 3-year-old fillies in Sunday's $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park.Owned by Bob and Beverly Lewis, the talented A. P. Adventure could emerge as a major contender for the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) with a victory Sunday.An undefeated daughter of 1992 Horse of the Year A.P. Indy, A. P. Adventure won the Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) Jan. 4 in her second start for trainer Wally Dollase. A. P. Adventure could be the most talented filly Dollase has ever trained. Considering he's conditioned such stalwarts as 1996 Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) champion Jewel Princess, Windsharp and Sharp Cat, that assessment indicates great expectations.
The 66-year-old Dollase knows he has a horse of vast potential on his competent hands."She's working great and couldn't be better," Dollase said of the Kentucky-bred filly. "At this point I think she's pretty special but the first race she lets me down, I won't think she's that special, but up till now she's done everything right."Though she ran greenly, A. P. Adventure showed her ability in the stretch run of the Santa Ysabel. Appearing beaten at the top of the stretch, she mowed down the tiring leaders in the stretch to win by 3 1/2 lengths.She has not shown early speed in her first two races, opting to rally from off the pace. But she has three bullet works at her Hollywood Park headquarters since the Santa Ysabel.
"She's feeling so good right now she's kind of over-achieving on her own and that might happen," Dollase said. "I think she's the kind of filly that if we wanted to put her into the race you could, or if you wanted her to relax off the pace, you could, because she's so smart. She's an extremely intelligent horse."
As to whether she's the caliber of Dollase's previous distinguished distaffers, that remains to be seen.
"I bought Jewel Princess after she had one start, but she wasn't quite as precocious as A. P. Adventure, who's going to be a very good 3-year-old," Dollase said. "Jewel Princess got good later on, the same with Windsharp. She got really good at four."A. P. Adventure faces eight rivals in the grade I Las Virgenes, six of which are stakes winners. The Bob Baffert-trained Composure won the one-mile race last year. Baffert has two fillies entered on Sunday, Class Above, 16-length winner of the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. III), and Friendly Michelle, winner of her last two starts by a combined 10 ½ lengths.Hollywood Story, who captured the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) on Dec. 21, is another leading contender in the Las Virgenes. Also entered are Stellar Jayne, who won the Pocahontas Stakes last November for D. Wayne Lukas; Whoopi Cat, winner of the Adirondack Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga last August; and Wildwood Flower, winner of the Piedmont Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on Nov. 22. Wildwood Flower was third in the Santa Ysabel.Sunday's supporting feature is the $100,000 Pro or Con Handicap for older California-bred fillies and mares at one mile on turf.Stakes winners Moscow Burning and Super High are the main contenders in the Pro or Con. Moscow Burning won last year's California Cup Distance Handicap and was a close second in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf in her most recent start on Jan. 24. Super High won the Work the Crowd Handicap at Golden Gate on Jan. 3.$250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I), 3-year-old fillies, 1 mile
PP. Hose, Jockey, Weight
1. Wildwood Flower, Gary Stevens, 116
2. A. P. Adventure, Alex Solis, 118
3. Friendly Michelle, Tyler Baze, 116
4. Mme. Espionage, Martin Pedroza, 116
5. Rahy Dolly, Jose Valdivia Jr., 116
6. Hollywood Story, Victor Espinoza, 120
7. Class Above, David Flores, 116
8. Whoopi Cat, Mike Smith, 120
9. Stellar Jayne, Javier Santiago, 118$100,000 Pro or Con Handicap, fillies & mares 4 & up, 1 mile on turf
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight
1. Bold Roberta, David Nuesch, 117
2. Calzada Kid, David Flores, 113;
3. Tucked Away, Gary Stevens, 115
4. The Yellow Sheet, Iggy Puglisi, 109
5. Super High, Tyler Baze, 119
6. Moscow Burning, Victor Espinoza, 118
7. Continental Lu, Corey Nakatani, 114