The GI $500,000, “Apple Blossom” Stakes is up this Friday at Oaklawn Park with a field of just 5, 4yo and up Fillies and Mares, going 1 1/16 mile.
Leading this short field at 4/5 is Havre De Grace. This leader of the ladies handicap division this year appears ready for another big Oaklawn test as her last victory here was a stunner in the GIII Azeri Stakes. She finally defeated Blind Luck (who is not running here on friday) in a graded stakes race on her own terms! So she has to be the clear favorite here and only a bad ride from Eclipse Award winning jockey Ramon Dominguez could ruin this party. So we will go out on a limb here and say she should be first into your boxed exotics!
Shipping in from sunny Southern California way are a pair of top-flight ladies in multiple Graded Stakes winner Switch at 6/5 and recent GI Santa Margarita winner Miss Match at 10/1 . These two tangled in that same Santa Margarita contest where Switch did everything but win that day as Miss Match came on late to nip Switch at the wire. Those two ladies covered the 1 1/8 mile course that day in a very good 1:46 and 4/5. So these fine ladies should be in your exacta, trifecta wagers as there’s no super wagering here in this 5 horse field!
At 15/1 is Belle Watling a chilean import, where she was known as the Zenyatta of South America, well not quite, but she was a big-time multiple group/grade winner down there! She’s had some success in the States with a win and a 3rd in some minor dust-ups here but this will be her first big dance. She is a turf horse by trade and can go the longer distances with ease, so 1 1/16 mile isn’t going to be a problem for her here! Looking for a little foreign-intrigue in your exotics, try her in one of your 50 cent Oaklawn tri’s!
At 10/1 is Absintheminded who finished a decent 3rd here in that GIII Azeri Stakes last month. No, she probably won’t win against this crowd but for another Oaklawn 50 cent’er, put her at the back of a tri.
So what we have in this compact field just might be a B/C Ladies Classic preview, a rematch between the two Santa Margarita foes, a hot senorita from way down under and a up and coming 4yo trying to gain some respect!
What more elements could we add to make this the best “race of the day”, oh, I know how about a $500,000 purse and get mentioned in the same breath with the 2-time winner of this race, Zenyatta!
So Gracie and Switch are logical 1’s and 2’s with the all button filling in your 3rd’s!
It probably won’t payout well as a 5 horse fields are liken to do and any scratches here, well, we all know how that will pay out!
Sounds like a good enough reason to be plugged into this race on Friday!