LEXINGTON, KY – Allen Stable homebred Enola Gay found a new gear at just the right time, surging late in the stretch to steal Saturday’s $150,000 Appalachian Stakes Presented by Japan Racing Association (G2) at Keeneland.
Sent from post 2 under Julien Leparoux at 5/1 odds, Enola Gay settled off the pace along the rail and watched Evil Lyn lead the 1/2 favorite Alms heading into the clubhouse turn.
Midway down the backstretch, Enola Gay pulled against Leparoux’s restraint before settling back down heading into the far turn, but she slipped back and gave herself much to do as she straightened for home well behind the leaders.
Alms took the lead at the top of the stretch and came under fire from Walk In Marrakesh, who was streaking down the middle of the lane. It looked like a two-horse race until just past the 1/16 pole, when Enola Gay suddenly appeared on the scene with a furious late bid.
Gobbling ground with every step, Enola Gay got up right at the wire to steal the victory by a nose. The Shug McGaughey trainee completed the firm turf mile in a final time of 1:33.97, besting the previous stakes record of 1:34.80 that Halo River set in 1998.
Walk In Marrakesh was a head past Alms, who fought gamely along the rail but was not strong enough in the late stages.
Evil Lyn, Passion Factor, and Mariafoot completed the order of finish.
Enola Gay’s win came in her first appearance since finishing fourth in last November’s Stewart Manor Stakes at Aqueduct. The 3-year-old Uncle Mo filly broke her maiden on debut at Kentucky Downs and has now earned $174,000 from her 3 starts.
Enola Gay returned $12.60 to win, $5.20 to place, and $2.60 to show. Walk In Marrakesh brought back $4.40 to place and $2.40 to show, while Alms paid $2.10 to show.