04/10/2012 4:13PM

Oaklawn: Plum Pretty heads five in Apple Blossom

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Barbara D. Livingston
Plum Pretty has been pointed for the Apple Blossom since her fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty flew into Arkansas from her Southern California base Tuesday morning, and not long afterward drew post 5 in a field of five for the Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park. She will be the 117-pound starting highweight in Friday’s race following the defection of Horse of the Year Havre de Grace.

The Apple Blossom, for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles, will share a card with the $100,000 Instant Racing, a one-mile race for 3-year-old fillies that drew 12. The stakes are part of the Racing Festival of the South, when Oaklawn cards at least one major stakes a day over the final week of its meet. In all, nine stakes worth $2.8 million will be run here through Saturday.

The Apple Blossom will be Plum Pretty’s first start since closing out her 3-year-old season with a fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.

“We wanted to freshen her up and get her ready for this year,” said Bob Baffert, who trains Plum Pretty for Peachtree Stables. “We were pointing for this race all along.”

Plum Pretty, who in addition to the Kentucky Oaks won last year’s Grade 2 Cotillion and $200,000 Sunland Park Oaks, is to be ridden by Rafael Bejarano.

The complete Apple Blossom field from the rail with riders and weights is Tiz Miz Sue, Joe Rocco, Jr., 115; Holy Heavens, Ramon Vazquez, 111; Absinthe Minded, Terry Thompson, 114; Twelve Twenty Two, Calvin Borel, 113; and Plum Pretty.

Tiz Miz Sue and Holy Heavens were also entered in the $100,000 Redbud, a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares which runs Thursday at Oaklawn. Steve Hobby, who trains Tiz Miz Sue, said the mare would be scratched from the Redbud.

“We’re running in the Apple Blossom,” Hobby said following the draw Tuesday.

Tiz Miz Sue won the local prep for the race, the Grade 3, $150,000 Azeri, on March 17.

The Apple Blossom will go as the 10th race on an 11-race card, with a scheduled post of 6:04 p.m. Central. Forecasters are calling for a high of 76 degrees and scattered thunderstorms, according to weather.com. HRTV will be onsite Friday, with a broadcast team of Zoe Cadman, Jeff Siegel, and Aaron Vercruysse, said producer Becky Witzman.

Plum Pretty arrived aboard a Tuesday flight carrying six other starters for festival races, including Bodemeister and Secret Circle, who are Baffert’s candidates for the Arkansas Derby on Saturday.

Apple Blossom Handicap (G1), Post Time: 6:04 CT Friday

Purse: $500,000; 1 1/6 mile

Post

Horse

Trainer

Jockey

ML Odds

1

Tiz Miz Sue

S. Hobby

J. Rocco, Jr.

2-1

1

Holy Heavens

J. Martin

R. Vasquez

20-1

1

Absinthe Minded

D. Lukas

T. Thompson

5-1

1

Twelve Twenty Two

H. Dominguez

C. Borel

6-1

1

Plum Pretty

B. Baffert

R. Bejarano

4-5