04/13/2010 11:00PM

Orchestrator looks solid in Appalachian

Pat Lang/Lang Photography
Orchestrator is "maybe a touch better on Poly, but still very capable on the grass," trainer Ken McPeek said.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - When an improbable longshot wins, as Afternoon Stroll did last year at 50-1 in the Appalachian Stakes, some fans think of it as just another tax on their horseplaying ventures as they discard their mutuel tickets.

Thursday being Tax Day across America, no such levy appears to await Keeneland fans with the 2010 renewal of the Grade 3 Appalachian. Chances are that one of the logical contenders in the field of eight 3-year-old fillies - Orchestrator, Rose Catherine, or Check the Label - will prevail in the one-mile turf race, saving folks from one more unwanted measure of financial stress.

Orchestrator, winner of the Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks over the Polytrack at Turfway Park nearly three weeks ago, looks as good as any. The Bernstein filly spent the winter in Southern California, racing once on the Santa Anita turf course, to no avail. But trainer Ken McPeek was happy to see her get back on form in the Bourbonette and believes a run in the $100,000 Appalachian could meet with similar success, especially with veteran jockey Alex Solis making another trip from California to ride her.

"She's very good on both surfaces, maybe a touch better on Poly, but still very capable on the grass," McPeek said. "She really came out of that last race well, and Alex likes her so much that he's coming all the way back to ride her. It looks like we're in the right spot."

Rose Catherine wintered in California for Todd Pletcher, winning an overnight stakes on the hillside turf course in her last start, Jan. 24, as an odds-on favorite.

Check the Label, trained by Graham Motion, has been quite consistent while keeping very good company and most recently was a close fourth in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride at Gulfstream Park.

The rest of the lineup is All County, Red Hot Buddha, Bay to Bay, Cactus Cadillac, and Go Ask Alex.

This 22nd running of the Appalachian occupies the usual race-8 feature slot when anchoring a nine-race Thursday card that also includes two allowances (races 5 and 7) and an always popular 4 1/2-furlong dash for 2-year-olds (race 1). First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern, with the local forecast once again calling for spectacular spring weather.