Apple Betty and Lottie lock horns for a third time this year in the 1 ½-mile Dowager Stakes (G2) on the Keeneland turf Oct. 15, with each seeking their first graded stakes win.
The score is 1-1 between the pair, and the run of the race could decide which one finishes on top – though there are other horses that could beat both.
Beaten by a nose by Elektrum last year when fresh off the plane from France, Apple Betty has stayed in the U.S. this year. She finished third in the Sheepshead Bay Stakes (G2) – beating subsequent grade one winner Zipessa) before finishing seventh in the New York Stakes (G2).
The sister to Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Magician encountered Lottie for the first time in the River Memories Stakes at Belmont Park, winning that contest while Lottie finished third. A few weeks later the pair met again in the Waya Stakes (G3) at Saratoga, with Lottie finishing second and Apple Betty finishing fourth.
Lottie has had one start since then, finishing fifth in the Glens Falls Stakes (G3). Ahead of her that day, in the runner-up spot, was the 3-year-old filly Grateful. The latter was having her first graded stakes start, though she had finished second behind Lottie in an allowance race earlier in the year.
Also returning this year is Daring Duchess, who finished fifth in 2016. She finished second in the Bewitch Stakes (G3) over the same 1 ½ mile trip at Keeneland in April, and since then won the Keertana Overnight Stakes at Churchill Downs, finished fifth in the Modesty Stakes (G3) at Arlington, and fourth in the Ramsey Farm Stakes at Kentucky Downs.
Race rival Place des Voges finished sixth in the Ramsey Farm Stakes after spending most of the year racing in California, where she finished fourth in the Santa Barbara Stakes (G3).
Daddy’s Boo could be one to watch, having won the Steve Morgan Memorial Stakes at Arlington, though that was at the much shorter trip of a mile.