LEXINGTON, Ky. – In the race preceding the Madison, Gainesway Stable’s Spendarella shook off a challenge from Dolce Zel (FR) at the top of the stretch and drew off for a 13⁄4-length victory in the 34th running of the $400,000 Appalachian (G2) Presented by Japan Racing Association for 3-year-old fillies.
Trained by Graham Motion and ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, Spendarella covered the mile on a turf course rated as good in 1:37.41. It is the third victory in the race for Motion, who previously won with Check the Label in 2010 and Daring Dancer in 2014, and the second for Gaffalione who rode The Mackem Bullet (IRE) to victory in 2019.
Spendarella was first out of the gate, but in the run to the first turn Glenall (IRE) slipped through along the rail and led the field of eight into the backstretch and through fractions of :24.50 and :49.11.
On the far turn, Gaffalione sent Spendarella to the front, where she first brushed off a challenge from Ouraika (FR) and then Dolce Zel (FR), who had made a three-wide bid. In the stretch, Spendarella kicked clear and maintained a comfortable margin to the finish.
Undefeated in three career starts, Spendarella is a New York-bred daughter of Karakontie (JPN) out of the Unusual Heat mare Spanish Bunny. The victory was worth $179,025 to the Keeneland sales graduate and increased her earnings to $283,675.
Spendarella returned $3.40, $2.40 and $2.20. Dolce Zel, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., returned $3.40 and $2.40 and finished three-quarters of a length ahead of Skims (GB), who paid $3.20 to show under Flavien Prat.
Kneesnhips finished another 21⁄4 lengths back in fourth and was followed in order by An Agent Mistake, Glenall, Ouraika and Trobairitz.
Click here for a replay of the race and the post-race interview with winning connections.
Quotes from the $400,000 Appalachian (G2) Presented by Japan Racing Association
Tyler Gaffalione (winning rider of Spendarella, his second consecutive stakes winner and his third winner of the day)
“She was going into the first turn very comfortably. She was in a great rhythm, and that other horse (Glenall-IRE) coming up inside didn’t bother her at all. She relaxed beautifully and had some turn of foot.”
Graham Motion (winning trainer)
“She’s made me look good. She just does everything so easily. She’s such a professional, she’s a fighter – she obviously loves it. She makes me look smart.”
On what’s next for Spendarella
“I’ve heard mention of Ascot possibly, so we’ll see. I need to talk to Wesley” (a wink and nod to Keeneland-based trainer Wesley Ward, who is notable for success at England’s Royal Ascot).
Keeneland Press Release
Photo: Spendarella (Coady Photography)