02/16/2008 12:00AM

Oaklawn: Kettleoneup cruises home

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Kettleoneup launched her season with an easy win at Oaklawn Park in the $50,000 Pippin Stakes, her first start since capturing the Grade 2 Falls City Handicap in November. Her meet objective is the Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn on April 5.

Gasia closed well for second, finishing 2 1/4 lengths behind Kettleoneup. It was another length back in third to pacesetter Clever Strike.

Kettleoneup ($3.80) broke well in the 1 1/16-mile race and let the field go, trailing as Clever Strike moved to the lead and ran the opening quarter-mile over a sloppy track in 23.77 seconds. Clever Strike was joined by Beat the Band through a half-mile in 48.19 seconds, as Kettleoneup continued to trail her rivals. Midway on the final turn, Kettleoneup launched her bid under Calvin Borel. She cruised past the field and went on to cover the distance in 1:45.48.

"She was impressive today, did that with a lot of ease," said Michael Tomlinson, who trains Kettleoneup for Tom Crouch.

Kettleoneup earned $30,000 for the victory, her seventh from 18 starts. Tomlinson said Kettleoneup, a 5-year-old daughter of Victory Gallop, would be pointed next for the Grade 3, $175,000 Azeri Breeders' Cup at Oaklawn on March 9.- Mary Rampellini