08/18/2002 11:00PM

Beverly D.: Golden Apples upsets Astra


Golden Apples gave owner Gary Tanaka his second victory in the last three runnings of the Beverly D. after getting a great trip and scoring by three-quarters of a length over favored Astra in the Grade 1 event.

Golden Apples, trained by Ben Cecil, returned $6.80 as second choice in a field of six fillies and mares. Tanaka won the 2000 Beverly D. with Snow Polina.

The Golden Apples victory also brought a measure of redemption to winning jockey Pat Valenzuela, who nine years ago was disconsolate after finishing first in the Beverly D. aboard Let's Elope, who was disqualified and placed third.

"This makes up for then," said Valenzuela.

Golden Apples was away last in the 1 3/16-mile Beverly D., but soon was in the midst of a compact field. Leaving the backstretch, Valenzuela had her in a perfect outside position to go after front-running England's Legend, and Golden Apples responded with a strong run that gave her the second Grade 1 stakes victory in a 12-race career. She was timed in 1:54.86 over firm turf.

Astra, the 6-5 favorite under Kent Desormeaux, finished a neck before England's Legend, who led through fractions of 24.94 seconds, 48.66 and 1:11.90.

Golden Apples is being pointed to the Yellow Ribbon at Oak Tree before returning to Arlington for the Oct. 26 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.