Updated on 09/17/2011 9:15PM

Melhor Ainda best in Appalachian Stakes

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Bill Straus
Melhor Ainda wins the $112,800 Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland in her seasonal debut.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Melhor Ainda, making her seasonal debut, overpowered seven other 3-year-old turf fillies Sunday with a 3 1/2-length triumph in the $112,800 at Keeneland.

With John Velazquez riding for trainer Bobby Frankel, Melhor Ainda had just one rival beaten leaving the backstretch but wasted little time in putting the issue to rest after being set down for the drive. The victory kept the Pulpit filly unbeaten in three career starts and stamped her as a potential star in her division.

"She's such a nice horse," said Velazquez. "She does everything so nice and so easy."

Melhor Ainda, owned by T N T Stud, returned $4.20 as favorite after finishing one mile in 1:37.69 over a course rated good.

Paddy's Daisy, the 7-2 second choice, finished second, another 1 1/2 lengths before Sweet Talker.