With most racetracks closed we have not seen an abundance of graded stakes recently and we have a good one on Saturday with a field field of 14 going in the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) at Oaklawn Park.
A few really good fillies and mares have won this race including Azeri three times and Zenyatta twice. Midnight Bisou won the race last year.
The D. Wayne Lukas trained Come Dancing is the 3-1 morning line favorite. The mare won four of her six starts last year including the Ballerina (G1) at Saratoga, but she failed to fire her best in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita where she tired to finish sixth. Florent Geroux has the call on the mare and will break from the four post.
Ce Ce had the misfortune of drawing the 14 post. The Michael McCarthy trained filly won the Beholder Mile (G1) at Santa Anita in her last outing. She is the 7-2 second choice on the morning line with Victor Espinoza in the irons.
Serengeti Empress the Speed
The speedy Serengeti Empress is the third choice on the morning line at 4-1. She earned a career top speed figure winning the Azeri (G2) over the Oaklawn Park main track in her last outing.
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The race will be televised live on the NBC Sports Network, which is simulcasting the TVG Network feed from 4:00 to 8:00 ET. It can also be viewed on America’s Day at the Races on Fox Sports 1 from 1:30 to 7:00 ET.
Let’s head out to Oaklawn Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Oaklawn Park Race 10 The Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) Post time 5:16 CT
6 Street Band 15-1
14 Ce Ce 7-2
12 Go Google Yourself 12-1
4 Come Dancing 3-1
This filly won the Cotillion (G1) at Philly last September at Philly as our top pick and returned $17.40, finally putting in that career top I had been waiting for from her. She did not get the best of rides in her previous start in the Alabama (G1) where she was third. She came up short in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), and then ran well in a close up third in the Houston Ladies Classic (G3) behind a couple of foes she faces again here. She regressed last out in her first trip over the main track in the Azeri (G2) but that was over a sloppy track. She makes her third start of her current for cycle and is going to get a sharp pace to run at. We need a ride from Doyle like we saw at Philly, getting her to relax but she is going to have to move earlier with the short stretch. She is better than her last and is going to be a generous price in this spot.
The McCarthy trainee drew a tough post, but this filly has a ton of talent and still may have some upside. Her win in the Beholder Mile (G1) last out was impressive and it was her first start around two turns, drawing off to win by 3 ¼ lengths. Her other mile try in the Acorn (G1) was a one turn mile. She is bred to handle the extra ground, has enough tactical speed to overcome the outside draw, and should get a good trip sitting in just behind what looks likely to be a sharp early pace.
Go Google Yourself
The five-year-old mare came off a 2 ½ month break with a game neck win in the Bayakoa (G3) over the main track here. She beat Alw-3 optional claimers in her other trip over the Oaklawn Park main track last March at a mile. She has now landed in the exacta in nine of her last 10 starts, five of those wins and she came out on the wrong ends of photos in three of those other outings. She usually sits second or third and may be a bit father back here, but she does have some late kick and in this spot looks as if she is going to be a generous price.