04/16/2011 11:19PM

Golden Gate Fields: Justenufappeal relaxes, handles turf in Golden Poppy

Marcel Langevin/Vassar Photography
Russell Baze guides Justenufappeal to victory in her turf debut in the Golden Poppy.

ALBANY, Calif. – Bet down to favoritism after starting at 6-1 on the morning line, Justenufappeal ($5.40) went from first back to mid-pack before rallying to win the $75,000 Golden Poppy on Saturday at Golden Gate Fields in her turf debut.

The multiple stakes-placed Justenuffappeal was coming off a third in Santa Paula at Santa Anita, where she lagged in last place early. She went to the lead immediately in the 1 1/16-mile Golden Poppy but tried to lug out on the first turn.

“She doesn’t want you to mess with her,” said winning jockey Russell Baze. “She gets mad so you have to let her run. I was hoping she’d relax a little better than that.”

She was passed by stakes-winning Alec’s Moon down the backstretch and dropped back to mid-pack as Seismic Speed and Unbridled Joule went past her.

“As soon as Alec’s Moon passed her on the backstretch, she started to relax some,” Baze said.

“I was surprised when those horses went by me on the backstretch, but I wasn’t concerned because I thought they were moving a little too soon on this turf course."

Baze placed Justenufappeal on the rail and then moved her out into the clear in the lance, and she finished strong, winning the race by 1 3/4 lengths in 1:46.06 as Windy Sails rallied for second. Alec’s Moon held on for third.

“I was pleasantly surprised by how well my filly finished considering the effort she had put out early,” said Baze.

A 3-year-old daughter of Exchange Rate owned by Praz Racing Stable, Eddie Delahoussaye, and Michael Dye and trained by Steve Specht, Justenufappeal earned $45,000 for her third career victory and first stakes win. She has now earned $109,200.