In the 11 months that have passed
since her victory in the 2011 Kentucky Oaks (G1), Peachtree Stable’s Plum Pretty has grown into the 4-5 favorite’s role she’ll assume when making her
season debut over four other fillies and mares in the $500,000 Apple Blossom
Handicap (G1) Friday at Oaklawn.
“Just look at her, she’s gorgeous,”
assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes remarked Thursday morning as the California
invader came off the track following a brisk gallop.
While looks aren’t enough to win
races, anyone who compares the 4-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro to her
3-year-old form will note the way she’s matured into a more solid runner.
“She’s bigger than she was last
year," Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said from California. "She's
filled out and grown up. She should run well.”
Plum Pretty hasn’t raced since a
fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (G1) on Nov. 4, but she
is the class of the field with earnings of more than $1.3 million. In addition
to her Kentucky Oaks score last year, she romped by 7 1/2 lengths while
completing the 1 1/16-mile Cotillion Stakes (G2) at Parx, going 1:41.19 on a
fast track to post a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 108. She’ll carry top
weight of 117 pounds in the 1 1/16-mile test.
“She’s been training great,” Baffert
remarked. “She’s a speed type, but her speed carries. She might be a little
rusty but she’s training really well.”
Rolling into the Apple Blossom off a
career-best win in the March 17 Azeri Stakes (G3) here for trainer Steve Hobby
is Tiz Miz Sue, a 5-year-old daughter of Tiznow who posted her highest Beyer
Speed Figure yet (102) last time out. Tiz Miz Sue was assigned 115 pounds. She
has been a consistent presence in stakes company since the summer of 2010 and
finished third in the Personal Ensign Invitational (G1) in her last start in
Grade 1 company for Cresran LLC.
Briland Farm’s Absinthe Minded was fourth
in the Azeri, but previously took the $75,000 Pippin and $100,000 Bayakoa over
Tiz Miz Sue. The 5-year-old daughter of Quiet American carries 114 for Hall of
Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
Twelve Twenty Two, a 4-year-old
Kafwain filly assigned 113, shipped in with Arkansas Derby contender Isn’t He
Clever and carries a three-race win streak in Sunland Park stakes races – the
Harry Henson Handicap, El Diario Stakes, and Bold Ego Handicap – into the Apple
Blossom. Her last start in Grade 1 company, the May 7 Humana Distaff Stakes at
Churchill Downs, resulted in a seventh-place finish for Kirk and Judy Robison
and Solitaire Stable.
Lightweight in the field is Drs.
K.K. and Vilasini Jayaraman’s Holy Heavens, carrying 111 for trainer Joe
Martin. The 4-year-old daughter of Holy Bull won a six-furlong allowance
optional claimer here going six furlongs March 3 but was fourth last time out
at the 1 1/16-mile distance.
The Apple Blossom is Friday’s main
attraction, 10th on an 11-race card that also features the $100,000
Instant Racing Stakes (ninth on the card). First post is 1:30 p.m. (CDT) and
the Apple Blossom is schedule to go off at 6:04 p.m. (CDT).