03/22/2011 2:01PM

Oaklawn has new queen in Havre de Grace

Coady Photography
Havre de Grace, Ramon Dominguez up, wins the Azeri.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Havre de Grace was more interested in peppermints than praise following her sparkling win in the Grade 3, $150,000 Azeri last Saturday at Oaklawn, but she is deserving of a heaping of both. She put up a Beyer Speed Figure of 105 while winning the race by three lengths over champion Blind Luck, and in the process established herself as the probable favorite for next month’s Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap.

The Azeri was the fifth matchup between Havre de Grace and Blind Luck, and while Havre de Grace is on deck for the Apple Blossom, the race is not set in stone for Blind Luck.

“I’ll think about it,” said Jerry Hollendorfer, who trains Blind Luck.

Hollendorfer said Blind Luck came out of the Azeri well. She flew back to her Southern California base on Monday. For her runner-up effort Saturday, she earned a Beyer Figure of 99.

PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK: Havre de Grace vs. The Factor - watch video and vote on Facebook

Havre de Grace won 1 1/16-mile Azeri in 1:42 to equal the stakes record of Sister Act in 1999, and Halo America, in 1997. The race was her first since finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic in November. Havre de Grace, who began her career with trainer Tony Dutrow, joined the stable of Larry Jones in January. She races for Fox Hill Farm, and her effort Saturday suggested she is sitting on a big 2011.

“She showed last year she’s one of the top 3-year-olds in the country, and all she had to do was make the step from 3 to 4, and I think she’s going to do that better than most because she’s such a late-maturing filly,” Jones said. “And I think this could be her year, I really do. She just has done everything so well.”

Ramon Dominguez rode Havre de Grace and has the mount in the Apple Blossom, which will be run at Oaklawn on April 15.

Winslow Homer to Charles Town?

Winslow Homer, a Grade 3 winner and one of the top older horses at Oaklawn, has a couple of options for his next start, said Jones. The horse, who was sixth in the Grade 3, $125,000 Razorback Handicap earlier this month in his first start since August, is being seriously considered for a start in the Grade 3, $1 million Charles Town Classic on April 16.

“It’s possible,” Jones said. “We’ll just kind of see how it goes.”

Jones said the other option remains the Grade 2, $350,000 Oaklawn Handicap on April 9.

Summer Soiree fires bullet for Burbonette

Summer Soiree, who breezed five furlongs in a bullet 58.40 seconds Monday at Oaklawn, was to ship Tuesday to Turfway to run in the Grade 3, $100,000 Burbonette Oaks, said Jones. She is one of two 3-year-old starters the barn will have on the Saturday card. Jones said The Ole Gen is being pointed for the $100,000 Rushaway.

Gabriel Saez will ride both horses, said Jones.

Summer Soiree romped by nine lengths in an Oaklawn allowance in her last start Jan. 30, while The Ole Gen also took a local allowance in his last start. His victory came by a head over Supreme Ruler, who on Monday shipped to New Mexico to run in Sunday’s Grade 3, $800,000 Sunland Park Derby.

Afleet Deceit to new stakes

Afleet Deceit, who won the $50,000 Sam Houston Distaff with a Beyer Figure of 90 in her last start Feb. 26, is being pointed for the new $100,000 Redbud at Oaklawn, said her trainer, Scott Becker. The 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares was added to the stakes schedule earlier this month. It is to be run April 13.

Payton d’Oro will be considered for the Redbud, said Jones. Taptam is being pointed for the race, said her trainer, Bret Calhoun.

◗ Oaklawn-based jockey Glen Murphy and his wife, Remington Park paddock show host Joy Rose, welcomed their first child, Noelle Kathleen, last month. She was born on Feb. 14. “It’s life-changing,” said Rose. Rose is to resume her paddock show post on April 18.

◗ The Jamie Ness-trained entry of My Friend Nev and Stumbling Block have combined to earn more than $500,000, making them top contenders in the featured ninth race Thursday. The $16,000 optional claiming allowance for 4-year-olds and up is at a mile.