Overlooked Solid Appeal won for the second time in as many starts this year when she drew off in the $206,612 Nassau Stakes (Can-IIT) May 25 on the Woodbine turf for her first stakes tally (VIDEO).
Jesse Campbell guided the stalking 8-1 shot Solid Appeal home from the outside, defeating Canadian champion Irish Mission, the 8-5 favorite in the field of seven, by 1 1/2 lengths. Final time for the one-turn mile test for fillies and mares was 1:34.01 over firm ground.
The daughter of Successful Appeal appears to be poised for a big 4-year-old season for trainer Reade Baker and owners Jim and Susan Hill. She opened the year at Keeneland with a 2 1/2-length score in an off-the-turf allowance event at 1 1/16 miles April 24.
Campbell, who was aboard for Solid Appeal's maiden score in July, noticed the filly had improved immensely.
"She's a better horse than when I rode her last year," said Campbell. "I think she took a bit of growing up. She was a little green last year, but she's a stronger horse now, put on a few pounds, and obviously her form was good over the winter."
Bred in Kentucky by Select Bloodstock out of the Woodman mare Star of the Woods, Solid Appeal was a $100,000 buy in the 2009 Keeneland November sale.
Dancing to Town took the early lead from Transgression and English Class while Solid Appeal and Irish Mission stalked the leaders through a quarter mile in 23.06 and a half in :45.98.
Transgression was pulled up in distress on the turn before they completed six furlongs in 1:10.26, and Dancing to Town continued into the stretch on the front end. Northern Passion advanced on the outside with Solid Appeal as Irish Mission found room on the inside of the tiring front-runners. The leaders were even approaching mid-stretch, but Solid Appeal finished best of all under urging from Campbell, scooting clear in the final stages for a convincing win.
"I did not expect to be that forwardly placed," said Campbell. "I let her be there because she was in the bit and I also had (Irish Mission) where I wanted her (on the inside). I was riding my race around (Irish Mission), being in the position I was, but she gave me a tremendous kick down to the wire."
Irish Mission, who won Sovereign Awards last year as Canada's top turf female and 3-year-old filly, was second under Alex Solis after saving ground all the way. Cutting back a half-mile after finishing third in the 12-furlong Orchid Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park March 30, she finished 1 1/2 lengths in front of Northern Passion and Luis Contreras, with Dancing to Town fourth. English Class and Part the Seas followed. Transgression was removed from the course by van.
Solid Appeal was 3-1 on the morning line for the Nassau. Fourth in the Mrs. Revere (gr. IIT) last November in her final start of 2012, Solid Appeal improved to 4-2-2 in 13 starts with earnings of $284,381.
The winner carried 117 pounds and paid $18.60, $7, and $3.90 while keying a $54.80 exacta. Irish Mission, the 118-pound highweight, paid $3.30 and $2.40, while Northern Passion returned $2.80.