08/17/2001 11:00PM

Golden Apples takes Del Mar Oaks


DEL MAR, Calif. - Five days after she arrived from Europe, Golden Apples pulled a major upset in Saturday's $300,000 Del Mar Oaks.

Rallying six-wide throught the stretch, Golden Apples ($44) won her first stakes in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks, which her first start for owner Gary Tanaka and trainer Ben Cecil. She was bought privately last month, and joined Cecil's stable on Wednesday after clearing quarantine.

Ridden by Garrett Gomez, Golden Apples ran 1 1-8 miles on turf in 1:47.98 before an ontrack crowd of 18,474.

Sent off as the second-longest shot in the field of eight 3-year-old fillies, Golden Apples was in mid-pack to the final turn when Gomez launched a wide rally.

Voodoo Dancer, the 6-5 favorite who had been second for the first half of the race, took over in early stretch and led narrowly at the eighth-pole.

Affluent, the early pacesetter, retook the lead in the final furlong, but could not hold off Golden Apples, who won by a length.

"She takes a little time to get going, but after she leveled off around the bend, she had quite a kick at the end," Cecil said.

Reine de Romance, trained by Jenine Sahadi, Cecil's wife, finished third, followed by Voodoo Dancer.