Apalgaffey received a brilliant ride from jockey Greg Hutton and easily defeated favored A Joyful Spray and four other fillies in yesterday's $36,600 Caesar's Wish Stakes at Bowie Race Course.

Apalgaffey, a 3-to-1 choice who had lost two stakes races since April to A Joyful Spray (3 to 10), broke first from the gate, but Esprit Detente (26 to 1) rushed along the rail to lead into the first turn of the 1 1/16-mile race. A Joyful Spray, in fifth place, was forced off stride momentarily by Northwitch, an 18-to-1 choice, as she ran wide around the turn.

Hutton held Apalgaffey one length behind Esprit Detente, who was setting very slow fractions of :24 2/5 and :49 2/5, while A Joyful Spray and jockey Phil Grove failed to reduce their four-length deficit through the backstretch.

With three furlongs to run, Apalgaffey accelerated past Esprit Detente and opened up a sixth-length lead leaving the final turn. Grove had A Joyful Spray moving on the outside into second position, but she could not catch Apalgaffey, who won by five lengths. Escanaba finished third.

"The last two times she ran (against A Joyful Spray), she set the pace and had to put away all the speed," said Jack Kousin, Apalgaffey's trainer. "This time, I told Greg to rate her and save something (for the finish)."

Apalgaffey earned $23,790, increasing her 1985 total to $60,940. She was clocked in 1:45 2/5.