07/06/2002 11:00PM

Appleby Gardens takes Shady Well

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - First-time starter Appleby Gardens prevailed as the favorite in Sunday's $165,450 Shady Well Stakes, a 5 1/2-furlong dash for Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies.

Appleby Gardens tracked the early leaders on the outside under Robert Landry, and hit the front early in the stretch. Mountain Dawn rallied along the rail and drew evenly with her in mid-stretch, but Appleby Gardens fought back to win by a head.

Rhiannons Wish finished another 2 1/4 length back in third in the eight-horse field. The final time of 1:05.93 was well off Bodust's stakes record of 1:04.

"We had a good stalking trip," said Landry. "She showed a lot of determination inside the eighth pole. I was really proud of her."

Appleby Gardens, a $2 million yearling purchase by Eugene and Laura Melnyk, was shipped in from Belmont by trainer Todd Pletcher, who won the 1999 Shady Well with a debuting Ruby Park. Appleby Gardens is out of 1996 Shady Well winner Larkwhistle, who was also ridden by Landry.

Appleby Gardens earned $99,270 and returned $4.60 to win.

* Favored Wake At Noon won Sunday's supporting feature, the allowance prep for the Bold Venture Handicap, running six furlongs in 1:10.21 under Todd Kabel.