04/17/2012 1:36PM

Keeneland: Somali Lemonade returns in Appalachian

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Barbara D. Livingston
Somali Lemonade has not raced since finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Somali Lemonade made one of the most eye-catching stretch runs you’ll ever see in winning the Jessamine Stakes over the Keeneland turf course last fall. Her rally was far less effective when she finished sixth in her only subsequent start, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, but trainer Michael Matz chalks that up to racing luck.

“It was one of those things where the pace was slow,” recalled Matz. “I think the filly made her run, but they just weren’t coming back to us. It was kind of like the Jenny Wiley here the other day – they went slow the first part, and then everybody came running home at the same time.”

Freshened since that early-November afternoon, Somali Lemonade makes her return to the races Thursday at Keeneland in the Grade 3, $100,000 Appalachian Stakes. Matz is as interested as anyone to see whether the Lemon Drop Kid filly will be able to repeat her Jessamine effort when she faces eight other 3-year-old turf fillies, including Dayatthespa, a two-time stakes winner at the recently ended Gulfstream Park meet.

“We had her and Union Rags turned out on the farm at the same time this winter in Florida,” said Matz. “We brought him back earlier because we had a schedule to meet, whereas we didn’t really have anything as pressing with her. She’s trained right along and is doing just great. She’s ready to run. Hopefully she’ll fire like we know she can.”

Somali Lemonade, with Alex Solis to ride, was assigned post 4 in the one-mile Appalachian. Solis won the Grade 1 Maker’s 46 Mile last Friday aboard Data Link.

Somali Lemonade is listed on the morning line as the 9-5 second choice, just behind Dayatthespa (post 1, Javier Castellano) at 8-5. Dayatthespa, trained by Chad Brown, faded to ninth after chasing the pace in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf last fall but has gone undefeated since then, prevailing at Gulfstream in the Sweetest Chant in January and the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride last month. Although she has shown versatility in her five starts, Dayatthespa figures to be among the early pacesetters in this 24th edition of the Appalachian, if for no other reason than there is not a lot of speed signed on.

Regalo Mia (post 8, Jesus Castanon), second in the Herecomesthebride, looks like the main upset threat to the favored pair in a lineup that also includes Little Sadie, Lemon Splendor, Biogio’s Gift, Firehouse Red, Andrew’s Girl, and Dream Pegasus.

The Appalachian, first run in 1989, goes as the eighth of nine Thursday races. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern, with the feature going at 4:42. The undercard is a good one, with three allowances (races 4, 5, 7) on tap.

◗ Eight older fillies and mares, headed by Pachattack and Joyful Victory, have been entered in the Friday feature, the Grade 3, $100,000 Doubledogdare Stakes. From the rail out, this is the field for the 1 1/16-mile Polytrack race: La Gran Bailadora, Kathmanblu, Lunar Mist, Principal Role, Pachattack, My Pal Chrisy, Sea Level Drive, and Joyful Victory.