04/07/2012 5:52PM

Havre de Grace re-routed from Apple Blossom to Churchill's La Troienne

Lynn Roberts/Hodges Photography
In lieu of the Apple Blossom or Oaklawn Handicap, Havre de Graceis headed to the La Troienne at Churchill Downs on May 4.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark.- Horse of the Year Havre de Grace will most likely make her next start in the Grade 2, $300,000 La Troienne at Churchill Downs after being withdrawn from consideration for two of Oaklawn Park's biggest races, the Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap early Saturday afternoon, and later in the day, the Grade 2, $400,000 Oaklawn Handicap.

The La Troienne, a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares, will be run May 4.

“That would be the next best [race] that sets her up for the Grade 1 Phipps in New York,” said Rick Porter, who owns Havre de Grace.

The $400,000 Phipps, a 1 1/16- mile handicap for fillies and mares, will be run at Belmont Park on May 28. 

Porter said Saturday that Larry Jones, who trains Havre de Grace, was en route to Oaklawn to pick up the mare, where she has been based since April 2. She is to return with Jones to Kentucky.  

Porter withdrew Havre de Grace from consideration for the Apple Blossom shortly after the weights for the race were released on Saturday afternoon. She was highweighted at 123 pounds, with Porter’s main concern the six pounds Havre de Grace would have to give Plum Pretty, the Kentucky Oaks winner who was weighted at 117.

The Apple Blossom field possibles include It’s Tricky, 119; Plum Pretty, 117; Tiz Miz Sue, 115; Abinsthe Minded, 114; Twelve Twenty Two, 113, and She’s All In, 112. Entries for the race will be drawn Tuesday.

Havre de Grace won last year’s Apple Blossom during a Horse of the Year campaign in which she also captured the Woodward over males at Saratoga in September, and the Beldame at Belmont Park in October. She also ran fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.


peter More than 1 year ago
A horse doesn't get to pick their trainer's eitha!!!!!!!!!!
peter More than 1 year ago
A horse doesn't get to pick their owners!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
B More than 1 year ago
Weights today are a joke and have been for some years. That owners/trainers take these minuscule differences so seriously is another joke. If Havre de Grace cannot beat Plum Pretty because of 6 pounds, then she's simply not good enough. This shows the great lack of confidence they have in their mare. We know she's no Rachel Alexandra or Zenyatta. Hell, she's lucky Blind Luck retired as she was at best no better than equal to her, but they are afraid of Plum Pretty?! If another filly wins Horse of the Year in 2012, it won't be this one.
Kelley More than 1 year ago
Just one more indication that even in the connection's minds, this mare wasn't; isn't; never will actually be the Horse of the Year. Because of "unfair" weights, I hope she doesn't get to run another race this year Send her to the shed, guys. You still have time to breed her.
Owen Pennant Jones More than 1 year ago
We have neither one thing nor the other in the USA. Very few of the Grade 1 races for older horses are genuine level weight contests (leaving aside weight for age and weight for sex for a moment) and almost none of the handicaps are genuine handicaps. Since centralized handicapping (such as in the UK) is impossible given the vastness of the country, we have a watered down system where racing secretaries assign light weight in order that the star horses perform at their tracks and not elsewhere. It is a joke. First of all there should be a genuine pattern of a few Grade 1 races at level weights. Secondly there should be some valuable handicaps, centrally weighted, where the weights properly take into account the relative merits of the horses from, say 136 to 108 poundsIf the top horses want to compete in THESE races, then carry the weight: if not, then by all means run in the level weight classics. The system in the USA is so flawed as to be laughable.
AZ Wildcat More than 1 year ago
Unreal, Jones once again proves to be a major league whiner. 123 lbs? She is the frickin' HORSE OF THE YEAR!! If she shouldn't carry weight, who should?
Greg Kilka More than 1 year ago
Maybe HdG just isn't that good. Why else would you change race plans over these weight assignments? It's Mr. Porter's mare but if she were mine, I'd announce my race schedule for HdG (assuming soundness) and let all challengers come take us on if they'd like. It would be nice if tracks nationwide implemented uniform "rules" for weight assignments in handicaps. I know it's a pipe dream but would be nice.
goldchange More than 1 year ago
It's not your horse
R. Carlos Nanez More than 1 year ago
Mr.Porter and Jones, well....I will say they are not very sportsmen in withdraw that mare from the Apple Blossom. What they expect...120 lb ?. she should be 128 lb.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Rick Porter is so incredibly wrong about balking at Havre de Grace's 123 pound weight assignment. The whole original objective of having HANDICAP races is so the racing secretary can assign respective weights to all the entrants so that the race will wind up in a field wide dead-heat. In order for that to happen, Havre de Grace would have to be assigned in the neighborhood of 200 pounds. I am not surprised by what happened here as Rick Porter and Larry Jones have been threatening for weeks to skip the Apple Blossom which put incredible pressure on the Oaklawn Park racing secretary. Even though the racing secretary buckled under the pressure applied by Rick Porter and Larry Jones and only assigned Havre de Grace 123 pounds (which is far, far too low), it still wasn't good enough and they withdrew her from consideration. Rick Porter/Larry Jones, your MARE was the 2011 Horse of the Year and was entered to run in a weaker than normal Apple Blossom field. What weight were you expecting from the racing secretary? If you don't want your HOY Havre de Grace to carry weight, then don't enter her in handicap races.