A.P. Adventure Aces Test; Halfbridled Awaits

A.P. Adventure Aces Test; Halfbridled Awaits
Photo: Benoit & Associates
A.P. Adventure, right, holds off a persistent Hollywood Story to win the Las Virgenes Stakes, Sunday at Santa Anita.
Bob and Beverly Lewis' undefeated A.P. Adventure used a powerful finish to overcome a slow start and win the $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita Sunday.

Ridden by Alex Solis, the 11-10 favorite won her third straight for trainer Wally Dollase by a half-length over Hollywood Story in 1:36 2/5 for the mile. Pacesetting Friendly Michelle finished third, three lengths behind A.P. Adventure.

"She's a runner, no doubt about it," Solis said afterward. "She's just playing with these fillies. She's still got no clue what she's doing out there. If she learns how to run, she's going to be something else. She's just learning, and that's the good thing about it. This is the time of the year when you want to start getting your horses to a peak, and she's going to hit it at the right time. Who knows how good she is? It's like she's just running in second gear."

Slow to begin, the Kentucky-bred daughter of A.P. Indy settled in toward the back of the eight-horse field while getting a spot on the inside through the first turn. Solis began to move the bay up on the backstretch and she began her rally on the final turn while between horses. In the stretch, she still had three to beat, but split rivals down the lane and gained the lead in the late stages, holding off Hollywood Story under urging.

"She gives you a heart attack," Dollase said. "You've only so many of these heart attacks. (Solis) said she didn't know what she was doing out there again. She kind of runs in spurts. She'll learn. She's got a lot of talent, she's just got to put it to a little better use down the road. The horse she beat (Hollywood Story) is a talented horse so I feel we've got a very nice filly here."

Dollase said the $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) on March 13 is the likely spot for A.P. Adventure's next race. She could face 2003 juvenile filly champion Halfbridled, who skipped the Las Virgenes while recovering from a cough, in the Oaks.

Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) winner Hollywood Story, with Victor Espinoza riding, was forced to rally while three wide. She was even with the winner in deep stretch, but outrun to the wire.

"She'll be even better for the next one," Espinoza warned. "Alex got kind of lucky, the other horses opened up and he got through, but he was on a nice filly. But my filly, she tried very hard, and she's going to get better."

Friendly Michelle, with Tyler Baze aboard, showed good early speed while under pressure from Rahy Dolly, carving fractions of :22 3/5, :46, 1:10 2/5 and 1:23 2/5. She fought back after being passed by the first two in deep stretch, but weakened late.

A.P. Adventure, who won the Santa Ysabel (gr. III) while racing greenly in her last start Jan. 4, earned $150,000 for the victory. She now has earnings of $241,080.

Bred by Lazy E Ranch Inc. from the Fappiano mare Nataliano, the Lewis' paid $425,000 for A.P. Adventure at Fasig-Tipton a year ago.

She paid $4.20, $2.60 and $2.40. Hollywood Story returned $2.80 and $2.60. Friendly Michelle's show was $5. The $2 exacta was worth $12.

Stellar Jayne closed for fourth, followed by Whoopi Cat, Rahy Dolly, Class Above and Mme. Espionage.

(Chart, Equibase)

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