03/08/2009 12:00AM

Proud Spell begins her season Thursday

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HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Proud Spell, the champion 3-year-old filly of 2008, will make her first start of the year Thursday at Oaklawn Park in a $75,000 optional claiming race open to fillies and mares with third-level allowance conditions or who have not won since Dec. 12, 2008.

Proud Spell last raced in September, finishing second in the Grade 2 Cotillion at Philadelphia Park. Her biggest wins last year came in the Kentucky Oaks and the Grade 1 Alabama. She has won 7 of 12 career starts and $2,123,610 for her owner and breeder, Brereton Jones.

Larry Jones trains Proud Spell, who breezed five furlongs in a bullet 1:00 at Oaklawn on March 5. He said her first stakes objective this year is the Grade 1, $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn on April 4. Gabriel Saez has the mount on Proud Spell.