The Apple Blossom 2022

The Apple Blossom drew a small but quality field. The star is returning champ Letruska. She’s the speed and definitely has a tactical pace advantage. That said I land somewhere else, but we’ll come back to that.


The first puzzle to me is this. Why is this one-million-dollar Grade 1 race run at a mile and a sixteenth with the short stretch and sixteenth pole fake finish line? Why not run this at a mile and an eighth and finish at the actual finish line? I cannot figure out the answer. Puzzling!


Letruska had a strong campaign last year and I can’t help but think she was a little spent by the time she ran in the Breeders’ Cup and was trounced. She had her race back at Gulfstream and was sharp. When she makes the lead, and she figures to on Saturday she is tough as nails. The thing here is I also think Ce Ce is a high-quality filly and she has run and won in some fast sprints. She is not as good at two turns in my opinion but surely is capable. She also likes Oaklawn. I think Victor Espinoza has to be aggressive and has to keep her right on the flank of the favorite.


If things play out this way, it gives the filly I like a big chance. I say like because of the distance and short stretch. I would have said love if the race was a mile and an eighth and finished at the actual wire.


Clairiere’s last four races were big in my view. She ran second to another champ in Malathaat in The Alabama with some trouble in her trip. She jogged in The Cotillion and ran what was actually a huge fourth in The Breeders’ Cup Distaff. She was extremely wide and could have won if she saved some ground. She had an easy race back spurting away from out classed rivals by six plus lengths at the Fair Grounds. I believe she could be set for her best race to date. She’ll need the help from Ce Ce to soften up Letruska and have to overcome that short stretch nonsense, but I think she can do it if things go right. She’ll most likely be the third choice in this small but select field and at 3-1 I think she is a great bet. Rosario is a strong finisher and has been riding at Oaklawn this meet regularly so he should be very aware of how fast that wire comes up.


Sadly, we lost one of the better older horses in training this week in Midnight Bourbon. This came somewhat on the heels of losing another of our top horses in Medina Spirit. What was odd along with tragic about Midnight Bourbon was that it occurred at Churchill Downs on the brink of The Kentucky Derby. It happened Sunday morning in the barn of Steve Asmussen where Epicenter the early and likely favorite for the Derby is stabled. It was not reported until Daily Racing Form broke the story on Wednesday. That is a long time for something like that tom stay quiet on the backside, especially pre-Derby at Churchill Downs.


Midnight Bourbon was a tough horse. He fell in The Haskell and overcame that to continue racing. He most recently ran in both The Saudi Cup in Saudi Arabia and The Dubai World Cup in Dubai and was only back in the states a few weeks. Most horses get a break after Dubai trips and not many run in The Saudi and Dubai races a month apart. Midnight Bourbon did and was already working seemingly without a break.


The Triple Crown season is here. It looks like it will be an interesting an exciting series. We have more than a fair share of lightly raced horses with plenty of upside potential. I still have a feeling the real star hasn’t emerged just yet. We shall see.

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Jon Stettin

Since childhood, Jon has always had a deep love and respect for the Sport of Kings. His years of experience have earned him a well respected spot in the industry as a handicapper. He now is a frequent contributor to AmWager as well as writing for his own site.

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