Brereton Jones’ Check the Label took over from odds-on favorite Rose Catherine approaching the eighth-pole and pulled clear under Julien Leparoux for a three-quarters of a length victory in the $100,000 Appalachian Stakes (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) for 3-year-old fillies April 15 at Keeneland.
A homebred daughter of Stormin Fever—Don’t Trick Her, by Mazel Trick, Check the Label scored her first stakes victory and hit the winner’s circle for the first time in four starts this season. She is trained by Graham Motion.
Breaking from post 7 in a field of eight, Check the Label raced in fourth through the early going while 3-5 choice Rose Catherine set the pace. Winner of the Sweet Life Stakes at Santa Anita last out, Rose Catherine took the field around in splits of :23.07, :46.02, and 1:10.64 under Garrett Gomez. But longshot Go Ask Alex softened up the leader, pressing her much of the way in the one-mile turf event.
By the time Rose Catherine cut the corner she was beginning to tire, and Check the Label, who had advanced three-wide around turn, was poised to take over. The bay filly took a 1 1/2-length lead with a furlong remaining and opened up a commanding lead before holding off a late run from Bay to Bay. The final time over the firm turf was 1:34.87.
Bay to Bay and Javier Castellano were runner-up, 4 3/4 lengths in front of Rose Catherine. Orchestrator was fourth.
Check the Label broke her maiden on the Colonial Downs turf last summer and won a first-level allowance contest in November at Churchill Downs. She was runner-up in the Coconut Grove Stakes at Gulfstream Park two starts back and entered the Appalachian with a fourth-place effort in the March 6 Herecomesthebride (gr. III).
The winner improved to 3-2-1 from 10 starts and has now earned $163,927.
Sent off as the second choice, Check the Label paid $11.20, $5.80, and $2.80. The exacta (7-5) was $54.60 and the trifecta (7-5-1) returned $150.80.
Prior to the Appalachian, jockey James Graham earned the 1,000th win of his career by scoring consecutive wins at the Lexington track. Graham, 30, earned his milestone victory aboard Green Lantern Stables' Mint Chip in the seventh race.