04/14/2010 11:00PM

Check the Label wins Appalachian


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Check the Label notched the first stakes victory of her career for breeder-owner Brereton C. Jones when she drew clear Thursday in the Grade 3, $100,000 Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland.

Trained by Graham Motion, Check the Label got a terrific off-the-pace trip under Julien Leparoux in prevailing by three-quarters of a length over Bay to Bay. The winner returned $11.20 as second choice in a field of eight 3-year-old turf fillies.

"She was nice and relaxed and gave me a very nice kick," said Leparoux.

Rose Catherine, second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last fall and the 3-5 favorite Thursday, set the pace under Garrett Gomez in the 22nd Appalachian. Leaving the quarter pole, she turned back longshot Go Ask Alex but had no response when Check the Label and Bay to Bay made their runs. Rose Catherine settled for third and Orchestrator was fourth.

Check the Label, by Stormin Fever, completed a mile in 1:34.87 over a firm turf course with her third victory from 10 starts. She ran three times at Gulfstream Park this winter, most recently finishing a close fourth in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride last month.

"Our goal was to win a graded stakes with her, so we're very happy," said Motion. "It doesn't get any better than winning a graded race at Keeneland for the governor."

Jones, the former governor of Kentucky and a lifelong horseman, made his biggest splash in racing two years ago when Proud Spell won the Kentucky Oaks.

* The Appalachian directly followed back-to-back victories by jockey Jimmy Graham, allowing the 30-year-old Irishman to reach the 1,000-win milestone. A brief congratulatory ceremony was held with his fellow jockeys after his rallying score aboard Mint Chip ($10) in the seventh race. Graham, who began riding in America in 2003, won the sixth with Valli With a Vow ($24.80).