04/19/2012 4:31PM

Keeneland: Dayatthespa dominates in Appalachian


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Dayatthespa took control at the start and was never seriously threatened in posting her third straight stakes victory Thursday in the 24th running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland.

With Javier Castellano doling out her superior speed, Dayatthespa finished 2 3/4 lengths ahead of Somali Lemonade and returned $4.60 as the favorite. Somali Lemonade, the 8-5 second choice making her first start in more than five months, rallied belatedly to be another 1 3/4 lengths before Regalo Mia, the 5-1 third choice in a field of nine 3-year-old turf fillies.

"I had a beautiful trip, and she really relaxed today," said Castellano. "Turning for home, she responded so well."

The victory was the first at the Keeneland spring meet for trainer Chad Brown, who had gone winless with his first 11 starters. "We'll take her back to New York and see what's there for her," said Brown.

Dayatthespa, owned by a four-way partnership, controlled the one-mile turf race after breaking from post 1, going in fractions of 23.70 seconds, 48.50, and 1:13 before finishing in 1:36.08 over a firm course.

"She is so quick from the gate, and Chad did a great job getting her ready for this," said Castellano.

Since finishing ninth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last November, Dayatthespa, a New York-bred by City Zip, now has won three straight races, having captured the Sweetest Chant and the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride at the recently ended Gulfstream Park meet.

The Appalachian was marred by the breakdown of Andrew's Gift, a Stonewall Farm Stallions homebred who was among those giving closest chase to the winner in upper stretch. A daughter of Lawyer Ron, she was euthanized after sustaining a major injury to her left foreleg. Jockey Leandro Goncalves was not injured.

The $2 exacta (1-4) paid a mere $11.80, the $1 trifecta (1-4-8) returned $14.80, and Firehouse Red, a 14-1 shot, ended a dime superfecta (1-4-8-6) worth just $5.79.

Ontrack attendance on a picture-postcard day was 12,466.