04/11/2017 2:24PM

Stellar Wind tops six entered in Apple Blossom

Barbara D. Livingston
Stellar Wind drew post 3 for the Apple Blossom, to be run Friday.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - Champion and highweight Stellar Wind drew post 3 in a field of six fillies and mares for the Grade 1, $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap, to be run Friday at Oaklawn. Entries for the 1 1/16-mile race were taken Tuesday.

The Apple Blossom is part of the Racing Festival of the South, a series of seven stakes worth a total of $3.45 million run over the final three dates of the meet, which closes Saturday.

The card Friday at Oaklawn also will include the Grade 3, $400,000 Fantasy, a points race for the Kentucky Oaks. It drew 12 3-year-old fillies. The festival closes Saturday with the Grade 1, $1 million Arkansas Derby.

Stellar Wind will be making her first start since November, when she finished fourth to Beholder in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. She was scheduled to arrive on the Oaklawn backstretch early afternoon Tuesday, along with other stakes horses flying in from Southern California. Victor Espinoza has the mount on Stellar Wind, the 122-pound highweight, who is owned by Hronis Racing and trained by John Sadler.

The Apple Blossom will go as the ninth race on a 10-race card that starts at 1:30 p.m. Central. The complete field from the rail with weights and riders is: Terra Promessa (118), Jose Ortiz; Durango (112), Ramon Vazquez; Stellar Wind (122), Victor Espinoza; Divine Elegance (113), Glenn Corbett; Tiger Moth (113), Ricardo Santana Jr.; and Streamline (117), Chris Landeros. 

Durango was a surprise entrant in the Apple Blossom. She will be stretching back out to two turns off a third-place finish in an allowance sprint at Oaklawn. Trainer Randy Morse said Tuesday morning she was entered because of the small field.

“She’s doing really well,” he said. “It’s a Grade 1, and a six-horse field. She could place. That’s huge for a mare.”

The Fantasy will reward its first four finishers with Kentucky Oaks eligibility points on a scale of 100-40-20-10. The 1 1/16-mile race will go as the eighth on Friday.

The field from the rail with riders is: Chanel's Legacy, Alex Birzer; My Sweet Stella, Ramon Vazquez; Benner Island, Ricardo Santana Jr.; Drinks On Broadway, Joe Johnson; Vexatious, Kent Desormeaux; Kell Paso, Joe Rocco Jr.; Dutch Parrot, Calvin Borel; Conquest Bandido, Channing Hill; Torrent, Jose Ortiz; Spooky Woods, Flavien Prat; Conquest Slayer, Jorge Carreno; and Ever So Clever, Luis Contreras.

The draw for the Arkansas Derby and the three other Saturday stakes will take place Wednesday.

The forecast for Friday is partly cloudy skies and a high of 81 degrees, with a 10 percent chance of precipitation, according to The Weather Channel.