French Import Lady of Venice Wins Appalachian

(from Keeneland report)
Lady of Venice, a French-bred filly who was making her American debut, scored an authoritative win in the $109,100 Appalachian Stakes for 3-year-old fillies Sunday at Keeneland.

With the nation's leading jockey, Julien Leparoux, aboard, the daughter of Loup Solitaire seized the lead at the top of the stretch and won the one-mile turf race by 2 ¼ lengths. The final time was 1:35 4/5.

May Night rallied from last place in the five-horse field to finish second, three-quarters of a length in front of third-place J'ray, the 6-5 choice bidding for a fifth consecutive victory.

Saoirse Cat, who set the pace – :24 3/5, :48 1/5 and 1:12 3/5 – and Sorority Wildcat completed the field. Dyna's Destiny was kicked during the post parade and was scratched. Aunt Henny and Stadore scratched earlier.

It was the third straight victory for Lady of Venice, who won her last two in France at Longchamp. She earned $67,642 for owner Martin Schwartz and paid $5.20, $3.80, and $2.60 as the second betting choice.

"She's a lovely filly," said winning trainer Patrick Biancone. "We've loved her since the first time she worked. Julien gave her a good ride, and she was the best today."

May Night, ridden by Robby Albarado, returned $6 and $2.80 and J'ray, with Rafael Bejarano aboard, paid $2.10.

"I tried to lay right behind (early leader Saoirse Cat), and when I asked her to go I didn't have much horse left," said Bejarano.

Sunday's program drew 17,574 to Keeneland.

(Chart, Equibase)