03/30/2013 5:33PM

Gulfstream Park: Fast pace in Appleton sets up perfectly for Za Approval

Barbara D. Livingston
Za Approval, the 2-1 favorite under Jose Lezcano, scores a two-length victory in the Grade 2 Appleton.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Za Approval took advantage of the presence of a fast pace and the absence of Data Link to win Saturday’s Grade 2, $100,000 Appleton Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

 Saving ground down the backside under Jose Lezcano, Za Approval was guided five wide on the far turn and rallied strongly down the stretch to beat Beaux Choix by two lengths. It was 1 1/2 lengths back to the pacesetting longshot King Kreesa in third.

The win was the fifth from 12 starts for Za Approval, a 5-year-old homebred gelding by Ghostzapper owned and bred by Live Oak Plantation and trained by Christophe Clement.

 It was his first stakes win in only his second stakes attempt. He had finished fourth, beaten only two lengths by Data Link in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf last time out.

 “He was a bit unlucky the other day,” Clement said. “When Data Link came to win his race he bumped him once or twice, which probably cost him second place. Data Link is obviously a much better horse. There was not Data Link today and he ran well.”

  Za Approval was eighth while King Kreesa reeled off fractions of 22.92 seconds, 45.63, and 1:08.66. Lezcano wheeled him out and Za Approval came with giant strides to get the win.

 Za Approval covered the mile in 1:32.07 and returned $6.20 as the favorite.

 “When I saw the fractions I was happy because it was a fast pace and he comes from off the pace,” Clement said. “Perfect scenario. Great ride. Everything worked out today.”