Sunday At Sunland

Twice the Appeal upsets Sunland Derby at 25-1

With $400,000 up for grabs to the winner of Sunday's $800,000 Sunland Derby (G3), a field of 11 sophomores lined up in the starting gate, each hoping to stamp his ticket to the first Saturday in May. When the dust had settled, the connections of TWICE THE APPEAL (Successful Appeal) found themselves basking in the New Mexico sun as their dark bay colt had his picture taken in the winner's circle following a 1 1/2-length victory.

Jockey Christian Santiago-Reyes settled Twice the Appeal in midpack as Sinai (Rockport Harbor) gunned straight to the front and proceeded to set swift fractions of :22 3/5, :45 and 1:10 4/5. Beer Meister (Pleasant Tap) was keeping close tabs on the leader, while near 3-1 second choice Astrology (A.P. Indy) kept Fusa Code (Fusaichi Pegasus) company just in behind.

The pace took its toll on Sinai, and the 2-1 favorite completely stopped following his six-furlong split, backing all the way up to last between calls. Astrology was just waiting for his chance and pounced on the lead in the stretch. However, Twice the Appeal was making his move after going wide around the turn and caught his season-debuting rival in the lane. The Jeff Bonde trainee inched away in the final yards to be 1 1/2 lengths clear on the wire while finishing up the nine-furlong, fast-track test in 1:50 4/5.

Sent off the 25-1 ninth choice, Twice the Appeal returned $53.20, $14.80 and $10 to his faithful backers. Astrology held second by a head over the closing Ruler on Ice (Roman Ruler), and it was another 2 1/2 lengths back to 41-1 longshot It's My Party (Unbridled Energy). Beer Meister, Nacho Saint (Yes It's True), Fusa Code, R Skydiver (Benchmark), Supreme Ruler (Don't Get Mad), Behold de Buy (E Dubai) and Sinai completed the order under the wire.
Twice the Appeal took seven tries to break his maiden (Coady Photography)

Campaigned by Edward J. Brown Jr., Victor Flores and Henry Hernandez, Twice the Appeal began his career competing on the synthetic Polytrack at Del Mar in August. He didn't manage a top three finish until moving over to Fairplex Park's dirt track, where he ran third, placed second via disqualification, in a maiden on September 25. Transferred back to the synthetics, this time the Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields, the dark bay managed a runner-up effort against maiden rivals before finishing third over that track's turf in November.

Twice the Appeal started twice more as a juvenile, finishing fifth back on the Tapeta before finally getting his initial win in a maiden claimer at Santa Anita Park on December 29. He returned 16 days later and stretched out to a mile against winners, resulting in a 4 3/4-length victory for the newly turned three-year-old. The colt made his stakes bow in the Turf Paradise Derby on February 26, boldly rallying for second, but in the process lugged in at the sixteenth-pole and interfered with Mr Artistic M D (Mr. Greeley). After an objection lodged by Mr Artistic M D's rider, the stewards disqualified Twice the Appeal and placed him fourth.

Easily defeating Turf Paradise Derby winner Beer Meister this time around, Twice the Appeal skyrocketed his earnings to $449,920 with this victory and now owns a 10-3-2-1 career mark.

Bred in Kentucky by John T. L. Jones III, the dark bay colt sold for $35,000 as a Barretts May two-year-old after RNAing the previous year for $4,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale. He is out of Double Boarded (Cormorant), who has also produced dual stakes winner Board Elligible (Goldminers Gold) and an unraced juvenile filly named Songandadare (Songandaprayer).

Double Boarded is a half-sister to Grade 3-placed multiple stakes winners Cologny (Go for Gin) and Selective (Mi Selecto) as well as a full sister to stakes hero Keep It S. S.

Plum easy for Pretty filly in Sunland Oaks

There could have been no double about who was best in Sunday's $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks, not after PLUM PRETTY (Medaglia d'Oro) asserted her dominance in the 1 1/16-mile test. All jockey Martin Garcia had to do was stay in the saddle as the bay lass drew off to a whopping 25-length victory as the 1-20 favorite.

The Bob Baffert-trained filly immediately began pressing the early pace set by Icelain Diva (El Corredor), and ranged up to take over through the half-mile in :46 4/5. From there, she merely widened her advantage: 3 1/2 lengths clear through six furlongs in 1:11 1/5, a mile in 1:36 2/5 while 10 lengths in front and finishing up the race in 1:43 while hitting 25 lengths on the wire.

Plum Pretty paid $2.10, $2.10 and $2.10 to her multitude of backers, while Paloma Mesa (Sky Mesa) came in much the best of the rest in second. It was another 5 3/4 lengths back to Formal Plan (Formal Gold), who had a neck to spare over Golden Springs (Pomeroy). Cassy Sue (Bluegrass Cat) was another 11 1/2 lengths behind, while Icelain Diva was eased under the wire.

Plum Pretty entered the Sunland Park Oaks owning just one win, with that coming in her career bow in October. She opened her three-year-old season, and her stakes account, with a third-place run in the Santa Ynez S. (G2) at Santa Anita, then stretched out to a mile and filled that same spot in the Las Virgenes S. (G1) last out on February 5. The winner's share from Sunday's race boosted her career earnings to $190,800.

Bred in Pennsylvania by Silent Indy Stables & DDS Stables, Plum Pretty RNAed her first two trips to the sales ring when reaching $100,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Selected yearling and $75,000 two months later as an Eastern Fall yearling. She finally saw the gavel fall on a winning bid when bringing $130,000 at last year's OBS March Sale of Selected Two-Year-Olds in Training.

The bay lass is out of the A.P. Indy mare Liszy, making her a half-sister to an unnamed juvenile filly by Scat Daddy and a yearling filly by Dixie Union. Liszy is herself a daughter of Grade 2 winner Silent Account (Private Account), who placed in the Gazelle H. (G1) and Selima S. (G1) during her career.

Plum Pretty's third dam is Grade 3-placed stakes victress Ciao (Silent Screen), who would go on in the breeding shed to produce the likes of Grade 1 hero Secret Hello (Private Account) and Group 3-winning sire Hadif (Clever Trick). This is the same family as 2008 Blue Grass S. (G1) scorer Monba (Maria's Mon).

One race later, J. Kirk Robison and Henry Dominguez's TWELVE TWENTY TWO (Kafwain) stalked for the opening half-mile in the $100,000 Harry Henson S. before grabbing command and pulling away to a 5 1/2-length score under Julien Leparoux. The Dominguez-trained mare captured her first stakes win when finishing the one-mile test in 1:36 2/5, having previously run third in the 2008 California Oaks.

Twelve Twenty Two transferred to Dominguez's barn after being claimed in December at Hollywood Park, and has dominated in her four races at Sunland Park since then. She made her six-year-old bow against allowance rivals and posted a 6 1/4-length victory, then recorded that same margin when going against similar next out on February 12. She entered the Harry Henson off a nine-length romp in a March 5 optional claimer, and now boasts a 10-5-0-2 career mark to go along with $165,100 in lifetime earnings.



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