Impressive Azeri Stakes (G3) winner Havre De Grace
squares off against West Coast invader Switch
in Friday's Grade 1 Apple Blossom at Oklawn Park.
Havre De Grace made a name for herself battling Blind Luck in the 3-year-old filly division last year. The consistent daughter of Saint Liam was trained by Tony Dutrow in 2010 and made a triumphant return for new trainer Larry Jones in the Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 19. Ramon Dominguez has the return call.
Switch jumped on the national stage when she defeated Blind Luck in the Hollywood Oaks (G2) last summer. She turned heads and gave Zenyatta a scare in the Lady's Secret (G1) last fall and followed that stellar effort with a place finish in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1). She won back-to-back grade one extended sprints at Santa Anita in December and January and just missed in the Santa Margarita (G1) at that venue March 12. She is firing Hollywood Park bullets for this and Joel Rosario takes his usual seat aboard the John Sadler trainee.
Miss Match upset Switch in the Santa Margarita and she needed every inch of the nine furlong distance to get by. Today's shorter trip does her no favors and she needs a pace meltdown to win this.
Absinthe Minded is the inside speed for Wayne Lukas. The 4-year-old filly set the pace and held the show in the Azeri and will take them as far as she can under Terry Thompson.
Belle Watling rounds out the compact field. The 5-year-old mare was a beast in Chile but has not had much success in her first two outings in this country. The long winded sort might find this trip a bit sharp.
The eight and one-half furlong Apple Blossom Handicap goes as the 10th race at Oaklawn Park on Friday, April 15.