Za Approval Zips Away to Appleton Triumph

Za Approval Zips Away to Appleton Triumph
Photo: Coglianese Photos/Kenny Martin
Za Approval delivers in the Appleton at Gulfstream.
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Favored Za Approval took advantage of a hot pace to rally for his first career stakes victory in the $100,000 Appleton (gr. III) March 30 at Gulfstream Park (VIDEO).

In his most recent start, the Canadian Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT) over the course Feb. 23, Za Approval was forced to steady in the drive and came up two lengths shy while finishing fourth. With Jose Lezcano aboard in the Appleton, the 5-year-old Ghostzapper   gelding experienced no traffic issues as the 2-1 pick streaked past pacesetter King Kreesa mid-stretch to win handily.

Live Oak Plantation's winning homebred defeated the late-running Beau Choix   by one length in a superb time of 1:32.07. King Kreesa, who led the field of 10 much of the way at odds of 30-1, held on for third.

"My instructions were to let him break, go inside, save some ground and wait to make my move at the three-eighths and it worked perfectly," said Lezcano, who guided Za Approval to his maiden-breaking win at Saratoga Race Course in August 2011. "I saw there was a lot of speed in the race and it worked out great for us."

King Kreesa's quarter mile fractions were a sizzling :22.92, :45.63, and 1:08.66 as he led Decisive Moment, Off the Jak, and Joes Blazing Aaron into the far turn. Za Approval raced in seventh at the race's midpoint before launching his bid leaving the quarter pole while five paths wide. After getting the lead near the eighth pole, Za Approval had plenty left while extended under right-handing urging from Lezcano, repelling the late charge of Beau Choix and Rajiv Maragh.

It was 1 1/2 lengths back to King Kreesa, with Cool Blue Red Hot fourth in the field of 10 older horses.

Christophe Clement trains the gray/roan Za Approval, who is out of the With Approval mare Win Approval. Za Approval won for the fifth time in 12 lifetime starts while banking $242,165. He has three wins and two seconds from six starts on the Gulfstream lawn.

"The jockey gave a great ride and the horse deserved it," Clement said of Za Approval's first stakes victory. "He's a nice horse and has never run a bad race. I'm delighted."

Za Approval carried 117 pounds and paid $6.20, $3.60, and $3. Beau Choix, who was third last time in the Canadian Turf, returned $5 and $3.80 and rounded out a $34.80 exacta. King Kreesa's show price was $10.60.

Cool Blue Red Hot was followed  by comebacker Silver Max, El Commodore, Omayad, Joes Blazing Aaron, Decisive Moment, and Off the Jak.

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