Making her 2007 debut for trainer Steve Asmussen, Appealing Zophie grabbed the lead under John Velazquez and set a middling pace. The daughter of Successful Appeal had plenty left in the stretch when challenged by Total, who drifted out a couple of times through the lane under Jesse Campbell and finished lugging in while still clinging to second place. The winning time was a slow 1:37 2/5.
Appealing Zophie led Total through fractions of :24 3/5, :48 4/5 and 1:13 3/5 before taking control of what evolved into a two-horse race in the stretch. Get Ready Bertie nosed Dawn After Dawn for third.
“It’s good to be right with the other speed horse (Total) and to slow it down like we did,” said Velazquez, who rod Appealing Zophie for the first time. “When I hit her, she switched leads and got away from (Total).”
Appealing Zophie won the seven-furlong Spinaway (gr. I) at Saratoga Sept. 3 when saddled by Scott Blasi for the suspended Asmussen. But four subsequent efforts at route distances produced no further victories, including a fourth-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), when she came home four lengths behind Dreaming of Anna. She wrapped her 2006 campaign with a second-place finish in the one-mile Delta Princess at Delta Downs. The dark bay filly has won three of seven lifetime with earnings of $475,350.
“She’s a good filly,” Asmussen said. “She didn’t run her race at Delta. We stayed on it with her."
For all of the connections, it was their second stakes win of the afternoon. Asmussen and Heiligbrodt combined to capture the Taylor’s Special Handicap with Gaff, and Velasquez rode odds-on favorite Master Command to victory in the Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III).
Luann Baker bred Appealing Zophie, who is out of the Hawkster mare Zophie, in Florida. She was a $150,000 Fasig-Tipton purchase one year ago.
The 9-5 choice in the field of nine, Appealing Zophie paid $5.80, $3.40 and $2.60. Total, coming off a 6 3/4-length win in Fair Grounds' Letellier Memorial for trainer Albert Stall Jr., returned $3.80 and $2.60 as the second favorite. The third choice in the field following her two-length win in the Tiffany Lass, Get Ready Bertie was $2.20 to show after finishing 1 3/4 lengths behind Total.
Following Dawn After Dawn was High Heels, Gal Wonder, Not in My House, Grace Happens and Meadowlanding.