Updated on 04/07/2012 3:45PM

Oaklawn: Havre de Grace withdrawn from Apple Blossom

Lynn Roberts/Hodges Photography
In lieu of the Apple Blossom, Havre de Grace could face males in the Oaklawn Handicap or wait for the La Troienne at Churchill Downs on May 4.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Horse of the Year Havre de Grace will not run in the Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park on April 13, owner Rick Porter said shortly after the weights for the race were released on Saturday.

Havre de Grace was highweighted at 123 pounds, with Porter concerned she would have to give six pounds to Plum Pretty, the winner of last year’s Kentucky Oaks.

Porter said he would consider running Havre de Grace against males on April 14 in the Grade 2, $400,000 Oaklawn Handicap, a race in which she was weighted at 118 pounds along with Hymn Book and Ron the Greek. Mission Impazible was highweighted at 120. Porter said another option is the Grade 2, $300,000 La Troienne for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles at Churchill Downs on May 4.

“We’re not running in the Apple Blossom,” Porter said Saturday. “When you take a horse like Plum Pretty, who won the Oaks, ran a minus Ragozin number galloping in the Cotillion at Philadelphia and we’ve got to spot her six pounds, you just can’t give a horse of that quality six pounds.”

The other weights for the Apple Blossom were Awesome Maria, second weighted at 122; It’s Tricky, 119; Tiz Miz Sue, 115; Abinsthe Minded, 114; Twelve Twenty Two, 113; She’s All In, 112; Holy Heavens, 111; and Soaring Goddess, 110.

The news of Havre de Grace’s defection could lure It’s Tricky into the Apple Blossom. Kiaran McLaughlin, trainer of It’s Tricky, said his filly would have to leave Sunday morning on a flight to Lexington and then van to Hot Springs in order to run in the race.

“We’re looking at it because Havre de Grace is not running,” McLaughlin said. "We’re trying to adjust travel arrangements and I need to talk to Simon Crisford.”

Crisford is the racing manager for Godolphin Racing, which owns It’s Tricky.

McLaughlin’s other option for It’s Tricky is Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Distaff, a seven-furlong race at Aqueduct.

On Saturday morning Havre de Grace breezed five furlongs at Oaklawn in an easy 1:02.20 undr jockey Jenna Joubert.

Oaklawn head clocker Jim Hamilton carried her through fractions of 12.40 seconds for the opening eighth of a mile, 37.60 for three furlongs, and galloping out six furlongs in 1:15.40. Hamilton had the final quarter of Havre de Grace’s work in 24.40 seconds.

The Apple Blossom would have been the second start of the year for Havre de Grace, who won the $150,000 New Orleans Ladies at Fair Grounds on March 17.

- additional reporting by David Grening

KeenelandCapper More than 1 year ago
KeenelandCapper More than 1 year ago
what journalist could attack a racing secretary that made weights as fair as it gets?...i also love how porter says in article about huge crowd because she was going to run..she doesnt draw a crowd..there will be the same amount of people there either way...
Jim More than 1 year ago
I've always been a huge Grace fan and will continue to be. One can't blame the mare for the idiocy of her connections. Whether she deserved Horse of the Year honors or not is certainly open to debate, but Porter and Jones should be ashamed of themselves for dodging arguably the best race in the nation for females. Hey guys, pick up your tack and don't come back to Hot Srpings untill you can grow a set and stop your damn whining.
Laura State Spoelstra More than 1 year ago
The connections of the reigning Horse of the Year scratching after receiving SCALE WEIGHT in a Grade I handicap. I'd laugh if I didn't want to cry...My own personal opinion is that the high weight in a GI handicap should NEVER be lower than scale. Call me old-fashioned.
Wesley White More than 1 year ago
Yep all apologies to Zenyatta and Jerry and Ann Moss for calling them out. Rick Porter has officially put a new face on the woRd coward in the dictionary he and larry jones have been moaning about these weights since july of 2011 after blind luck beat them in the Del Cap we all knew this was something that was likely to occur no 1 wanted to listen larry jones said on the churchill downs backstretch after the BC that THE FILLY would not run at oaklawn I am sure they would have found an excuse if they made plum pretty highweight and gave grace 4 or 5 pounds this is just atrocious. And embarrassing for horse racing. Where is the commissioner of horse racing. There should be a hefty fine for DUCKING this race.
Rick Bean More than 1 year ago
Afraid of 123 pounds??? I guess this mare isn't one of the great ones after all. If she was, the weight wouldn't matter. I have heard of lame excuses, but this one goes to the top of the list!!!
Wesley White More than 1 year ago
Just awful. And an embarrassment to champion fillies and mares of the past. SMH. These people are gutless. May Royal Delta come back from Dubai, none the worst for her travels.
Kevin More than 1 year ago
agree - everyone wants to crow about the greatness of their horse and then they cry about six pounds . . . one of the many reasons why racing is in bad shape
Kaydee S More than 1 year ago
Wesley, I rarely agree with you, but you are spot on here. No reigning HOY should be demanding to RECEIVE weight. I thought it was bad enough that Havre de Grace got weight from a horse that just broke its maiden in December (in the NO Ladies), but to skip a race for receiving 123 lbs? That's just the epitome of bad sportsmanship. If you're going to be in the game, then play by the rules....handicap races seek to level the field. If HDG is truly the best horse, then she'll win REGARDLESS of the impost.