First Look: Apple Blossom battle plus 6 other graded stakes

First Look: Apple Blossom battle plus 6 other graded stakes
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Saturday's showdown in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom between Monomoy Girl and Swiss Skydiver looks to be scaring off the competition. As of Sunday, only one other probable was listed by the Oaklawn racing office. Interest is likely to pick up, of course, with s $1 million purse on offer.

The matchup between 2020 Eclipse winners comes on the first weekend since February without a Kentucky Derby points prep.

[RELATED – McPeek: Swiss Skydiver is 'a beast' ahead of Apple Blossom]

Here is an early look at the likely fields for the Apple Blossom and six other graded stakes this weekend.

Apple Blossom (G1), Oaklawn, 1 1/16 miles, fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up

At last check with the Oaklawn racing office, Letruska was the only one who had stepped up to challenge Swiss Skydiver and Monomoy Girl. She won the Rampart Stakes (G3) and the Houston Ladies Classic (G3) before finishing second to Shedaresthedevil in the Azeri (G2). Horse Racing Nation had included Brad Cox's Getridofwhatailesu and Chris Hartman's Chance to Shine as possible entries, but they weren't offered up by the racing office on Sunday.

2021 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1)

*Rating is based on HRN fan votes, which rank the Top Active Horses in training.

Friday

Doubledogdare (G3), Keeneland, 1 1/16 miles, fillies and mares, 4-year-olds and up

Speech was 3-3-2 in her first eight starts before finishing sixth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint for Mike McCarthy. Bonny South finished 2020 with three runner-up efforts, all in graded stakes.

2021 Doubledogdare (G3)

Saturday

Oaklawn Handicap (G2), Oaklawn, 1 1/8 miles, 4-year-olds and up

Cox told HRN last week that Owendale was pointed toward this race and that Warrior's Charge might join him, depending on how the field shapes up. Fearless' win in the Gulfstream Park Mile (G2) was his first start off an eight-month layoff.

2021 Oaklawn Handicap (G2)

Elkhorn (G2), Keeneland, 1 1/2 miles (turf), 4-year-olds and up

North Dakota's 10th-place finish in the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational (G1) came after he scored in the Red Smith (G3) in November. Say the Word bounced back from an 11th-pace finish in the Pegasus Turf to finish second in the San Luis Rey (G3).

2021 Elkhorn (G2)

Californian (G2), Santa Anita, 1 1/8 miles, 4-year-olds and up

Country Grammer, unraced since finishing fifth in last year's Travers (G1), was scratched by his new connections from a Saturday allowance race at Santa Anita Park to point here. Before his runner-up effort in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1), Express Train won the San Pasqual (G2).

2021 Californian Stakes (G2)

Sunday

Tokyo City Cup (G3), Santa Anita, 1 1/2 miles, 4-year-olds and up

Multiplier's fifth-place finish in the San Luis Rey (G3) was his second start after being claimed by Biggleague Racing LLC and trainer Tim Lerner in a $50,000 race in February. Tizamagician was second in the delayed edition of this race last year, and he also was runner-up in the San Pasqual (G2).

2021 Tokyo City Cup (G3)

Kona Gold Stakes (G3), Santa Anita, 6 1/2 furlongs, 4-year-olds and up

This would be the second start off an eight-month layoff for Cistron, whose two races last year included a score in the San Simeon Stakes (G3). Brickyard Ride – a starter in nine races last year – is 2-for-2 this year. Bob Baffert has four nominated here, including Cezanne, and is expected to start at least one.

2021 Kona Gold Stakes (G3)

*Rating is based on HRN fan votes, which rank the Top Active Horses in training.

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