LEXINGTON, KY – Katsumi Yoshida’s The Mackem Bullet sat the perfect trip, waiting to pounce until the time was right before drawing away to give her owner a special victory in Sunday’s Appalachian Stakes (G2) Presented by Japan Racing Association at Keeneland.
Breaking from post 4 under Tyler Gaffalione at 6/1 odds, The Mackem Bullet sat just off of early leader Catch a Thrill through opening fractions of :24.14, :49.21, and 1:14.72. Taking over command as she exited the far turn, The Mackem Bullet began clearing off in the stretch and had plenty left to hold sway over a closing Regal Glory for the win. The Wesley Ward trainee crossed with a 1 1/4-length advantage in a final time of 1:39.31 for the mile-long event over the soft turf course.
“We had a perfect trip,” Gaffalione said. “She broke sharp and put herself right in the race. The speed went on and we sat second. I had a ton of horse going all the way around. When we turned for home, I (tapped) her on the shoulder once and she kicked on. She was just cruising out there.”
Though she was left with too much to do in the stretch run to get up for the win, Regal Glory was well-clear of Princesa Carolina in third. Hard Legacy was a 1/2-length ahead of Winning Envelope for fourth, with Primela not far behind in sixth. Primela, a weakened Catch a Thrill, the 8/5 favorite Clause, Angel Alessandra, Naughty Joker, and Beautiful Ballad completed the order of finish.
The Mackem Bullet’s win was her second in three starts for Ward, who took over training duties from the England-based Brian Ellison following her sixth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. The Irish-bred 3-year-old daughter of Society Rock now sports a lifetime record of 10-3-2-2 with $305,358 earned.
“She’s really done well here over the winter,” Ward said. “I always thought she’d probably prefer the grass. She had a beautiful breeze here last week over the grass. There was a little question mark about the surface today, but I spoke to Brian Ellison twice and he assured me she’d be okay, and she was.”
The Mackem Bullet returned $15.20 to win, $6.80 to place, and $4.60 to show. Regal Glory brought back $4.60 to place and $3.20 to show, while Princesa Carolina paid $4.40 to show.