The Mackem Bullet ‘just cruising out there’ in Appalachian at Keeneland

The Mackem Bullet, front right with Tyler Gaffalione up, won the Appalachian for trainer Weley Ward and owner Katsumi Yoshida.
The Mackem Bullet, front right with Tyler Gaffalione up, won the Appalachian for trainer Weley Ward and owner Katsumi Yoshida. Keeneland Photo

The Mackem Bullet roared past pacesetting Catch a Thrill in the upper stretch and coasted to a 1¼-length victory over Regal Glory to win the 31st running of the Grade 2, $200,000 Appalachian Stakes for 3-year-old fillies before a crowd of 9,699 at Keeneland on Sunday afternoon.

Trained by Wesley Ward and ridden by Tyler Gaffalione, The Mackem Bullet covered the mile on a turf course rated as soft in 1:39.31.

“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.”

The Mackem Bullet returned $15.20, $6.80 and $4.60. Regal Glory, ridden by Jose Ortiz, returned $4.60 and $3.20 with Princesa Carolina finishing another 2¼ lengths back in third under Brian Hernandez Jr. and paying $4.40 to show.

In the race prior to the Appalachian, Fancy Dress Party ran her unbeaten streak to four with a victory in the 34th running of the Grade 3, $150,000 Beaumont for 3-year-old fillies.

Fancy Dress Party went to the front out of the gate and turned back challenges first from favored Feedback and then from Mother Mother to prevail by a head.

Trained by Ben Colebrook and ridden by Luis Saez, Fancy Dress Party covered 7 furlongs, 184 feet in 1:28.18.

“I could see (my filly getting the early lead), but the horses you expected to be the speed didn’t really break well and looked like they might have been fighting the (sloppy) race track,” Colebrook said. “(Fancy Dress Party) was going so smooth and within herself that I was happy we were on the lead. … It wasn’t the game plan, but credit to Luis for going with Plan B.“

A Keeneland September Yearling Sale graduate, Fancy Dress Party is a Kentucky-bred daughter of Munnings out of the Matty G mare The Schvagen. Fancy Dress Party also picked up 10 qualifying points toward the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs, but her total is far below the current cut line of 50 to make the race.

Fancy Dress Party returned $7.40, $3.20 and $2.20. Mother Mother, ridden by Florent Geroux, returned $3.20 and $2.20 with Feedback finishing another 1¼ lengths back in third and returning $2.20 to show under Irad Ortiz Jr.

Racing at Keeneland resumes Wednesday with an eight-race program that begins at 1:05 p.m.