Affluent Holds Off Golden Apples in Del Mar Feature

Affluent ran down Janet in deep stretch and held off a fast-closing Golden Apples by a half-length to win the $400,000 John C. Mabee/Ramona Handicap at nine furlongs on the Del Mar turf course Saturday.

With a well-timed ride by Eddie Delahoussaye, Affluent stalked the slow fractions of early pacesetter Janet into the stretch. She then accelerated to the front with a brilliant burst of speed, showing her gameness in repulsing the late charge of Golden Apples, piloted by Garrett Gomez, to win by a half-length.

"I had a great trip," said Delahoussaye. "I knew they were walking up front, but there wasn't much I could do about it. This mare has a wonderful late turn of foot, but you have to wait on it. Grass or dirt, it doesn't matter to her. She just turns it on."

Janet, victress in the race a year ago, appeared home free under jockey David Flores entering the stretch when she drew out to a three-length lead, but she was unable to withstand the pressure from the first two fillies. At the wire, Janet was a half-length behind Golden Apples and 1 1/2-lengths in front of fourth-place Surya, the 8-5 favorite under Kent Desormeaux.

Affluent, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Affirmed trained by Hall of Famer Ron McAnally, ran the nine furlongs on the grass in 1:48 2/5 while earning $240,000 with her seventh triumph in 17 career starts. Her earnings now total $1,287,080.

Second to Azzeri in each of her last three starts on the dirt, McAnally switched the filly to the grass for the third time in her career. She now has two wins and a second in her brief career on the lawn.

"I saw the slow fractions and that's sort of the way Eddie and I planned it," McAnally said. "We thought Janet would go to the lead, and I just told him to be careful. Opening up three in the stretch makes them pretty tough to catch, but Eddie knew what he had."

Owned by Janis Whitham, who bred to the dam Trinity Place with her late husband, Frank, Affluent paid $7.80, $3.80 and $3.20. Golden Apples, who has now lost two of her three decisions to Affluent, returned $3.80 and $2.60. Janet paid $3.80 to show.

"They bred her (dam) to the most correct stallion they could find, and that was Affirmed," noted McAnally. "We would consider the Beverly D (next)., but, of course, we have to hook Astra."

Golden Apples is also being considered for the Chicago race.

The victory was McAnally's 65th career stakes win at Del Mar, who captured his fourth Ramona. The 70-year-old conditioner is second all-time in stakes victories behind Charlie Whittingham at Del Mar.

(Chart, Equibase)