How to bet the 2022 Apple Blossom Handicap

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

April 21st, 2022

Four of the five entered to contest the $1 million Apple Blossom H. (G1) at Oaklawn Park on Saturday are prior Grade 1 winners. The stellar renewal of the 1 1/16-mile affair attracted some of the top distaffers in training.

Defending champ #2 Letruska (7-5) will aim to become just the third horse to win this race in back-to-back years, following Azeri and Paseana, and I feel that she will do so on Saturday.

Letruska compiled multiple major victories in 2021, and the six-year-old daughter of Super Saver was sharp in posting a facile score in the Royal Delta S. (G3) at Gulfstream Park Feb. 26 to commence her 2022 campaign. The Fausto Gutierrez trainee owns excellent early speed and she is the swiftest contender in the field. I don’t expect her to be passed at any point in the affair with Jose Ortiz in the silks.

Cotillion S. (G1) queen #3 Clairiere (5-2) improved as 2021 went on, and the well-bred filly kicked off this season a powerful 6 1/2-length romp in an allowance tilt at Fair Grounds. The high-class Stonestreet color bearer will surely improve in her second run of 2022, and I love that she has put in a trio of morning drills on the surface in preparation of her local bow. The daughter of Curlin will track from the back prior to making a big run in the stretch to garner place honors.

Champion 2021 Female Sprinter #5 Ce Ce (2-1) was a game winner of this race in 2020 and is all class for conditioner Mike McCarthy. The Elusive Quality mare was very professional in her Azeri S. (G2) triumph on the course last time out, and she will surely make her presence felt on Saturday. I do have some concerns that she will tire late after forcing the pace set by the top pick, however, and I can envision her getting passed late for second. Regular pilot Victor Espinoza comes in to ride.

Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) heroine #1 Maracuja (6-1) is no slouch and looked good in her local debut most recently when defeating allowance runners. The talented Rob Atras pupil would be a bit of a surprise to me if she were to upset this fine field, but the Honor Code four-year-old could easily make the frame if one of the top trio fails to fire.

#4 Miss Imperial (12-1) will flash early interest, but she has never proven to be capable of running with this type.

Apple Blossom Wagers

  • $25 exacta 2 with 3 ($25)
  • $5 trifecta 2, 3 with 2, 3 with 1, 5 ($20)