02/10/2007 12:00AM

Appealing Zophie shows she can go long


NEW ORLEANS - Appealing Zophie proved she can be as good around two turns as she is sprinting Saturday with an impressive victory in the Grade 3, $200,000 Silverbulletday Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Fair Grounds.

Breaking from post 2, jockey John Velazquez was able to measure Appealing Zophie's speed and he controlled the pace masterfully, breaking a bit wide from the gate to keep any of the other horses from squeezing Appealing Zophie early and steering her in along the rail through an easy quarter-mile in 24.66 seconds and a half-mile in 48.93, all the while with Total tracking her closely.

"There were two speed horses, the other one was right next to me," said Velazquez. "We were able to slow it down pretty good and she had something left."

Jockey Jesse Campbell sent Total after the leader in the turn, and each time the two engaged each other, Appealing Zophie kicked clear.

"She was going easy," said Velazquez.

Appealing Zophie won by 4 1/4 lengths and paid $5.80 as the favorite, getting the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.13. Total finished 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Get Ready Bertie, who nailed Dawn After Dawn at the wire by a nose for third.

Total shied away from Campbell's left-handed whip in midstretch, but trainer Al Stall wasn't disappointed by the effort.

"I think she was in the right spot," he said. "A Grade 1 stakes winner kept spurting away from her every time she crept up to her. I thought we ran our race. I think we might go forward off this race from a seasoning standpoint. She ran a little green down the lane but all in all I didn't think it was a bad effort. She ran into a buzz saw."

Trainer Steve Asmussen, who saddled Appealing Zophie to win the Grade 1 Spinaway last year at seven furlongs, now knows he has a filly that can win around two turns.

"She got a good trip, soft fractions early and a very good win today," Asmussen said. "We have an excellent 3-year-old filly on our hands. She's now a graded stakes winner around two turns. It opens up some doors. She's a big filly who's matured nicely. She's out of a Hawkster mare so we were hoping for that."