10/23/2016 5:31PM

Elektrum noses Apple Betty in Dowager Stakes

Coady Photography
Elektrum, with Drayden Van Dyke up, edges Apple Betty in the Dowager Stakes at Keeneland on Sunday.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Two out-of-towners put on a show Sunday evening at Keeneland, when California shipper Elektrum nailed European invader Apple Betty by a nose to win the Grade 3, $125,000 Dowager Stakes before an announced crowd of 15,784.

Travel is not new for Elektrum, who was foaled in Ireland and initially campaigned in France before making her U.S. debut early last year for Hronis Racing and trainer John Sadler. The 5-year-old High Chaparral mare won the Grade 2 John C. Mabee Stakes last year at Del Mar, and has placed in four other graded stakes in her adopted home state. She has had multiple Grade 1 placings, including a second to Photo Call in last year’s Grade 1 Rodeo Drive Stakes.

Elektrum ($7), sent away as the favorite, was well back in the early stages of the marathon 1 1/2-mile Dowager, and was still seventh with a quarter-mile remaining. Jockey Drayden Van Dyke fanned her out five wide into the lane, then wider still to come around horses for her final rally.

Meanwhile, Apple Betty, making her first start in the U.S., had bided her time in fifth early. She struck the lead in midstretch and was two lengths clear in the final sixteenth, but Elektrum rallied furiously for the victory.

“Close to the sixteenth pole, I thought it was gonna be really close,” Van Dyke said. “Once I switched my stick to the right hand, she kind of surged a little bit more. At the wire, I knew I got it.”

The final time, on turf rated firm, was 2:33.08.

After the top two, it was three lengths back to longshot Swear by It in third.

One race prior to the Dowager, in a $100,000 optional-claiming / allowance event featuring several familiar names, multiple graded stakes-placed The Truth or Else ($14) prevailed under meet-leading rider Julien Leparoux. The Yes It’s True colt was dropping down out of three straight stakes appearances for trainer Ken McPeek after winning an allowance-optional event in July at Belmont. Totally Drenched was second; even-money favorite Schivarelli, who most recently finished third to Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile contender Tom’s Ready in the Grade 3 Ack Ack Handicap, was a non-threatening third.