Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Adare Manor leads from gate to wire, cruises in Apple Blossom

Living up to the expectations put on her by bettors who made
her the 3-5 favorite, Adare Manor led from gate to wire, looking relaxed on the
lead before she pulled away to a 5 1/2-length triumph Saturday in the Grade 1,
$1.25 million Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn.

Click here for Oaklawn entries and results.

It was the sixth graded-stakes victory for the 5-year-old
Uncle Charlie mare owned by Michael Lund Petersen. It was the second Apple
Blossom victory for trainer Bob Baffert, whose previous score came with Plum
Pretty in 2012. Jockey Juan Hernández was a first-time winner of the 1 1/16-mile
race around two turns of the dirt track at Oaklawn.

“I just love the way she’s been training this year,” said Baffert, who watched the race from California while assistant Jimmy Barnes looked after Adare Manor in Arkansas. “A little freshening helped her. I’m just proud to have so many nice horses. It’s a blessing. To go there with (Grade 1 Arkansas Derby winner) Muth and then with her, I’m just blessed to have all these good horses. I’m proud of all of them. And when they run like that, it just makes you feel so much (better), especially her. She’s like a real favorite around the barn. She’s a sweetheart.”

Other than some right-handed urging in the stretch,
Hernández kept Adare Manor under a tight hold for most of the race, maintaining
a lead of no more than 1 1/2 lengths through early fractions of 23.68, 46.95
and 1:11.14 before he loosened the reins and went to the crop through a mile in
1:36.12. By then, Adare Manor led by a widening four lengths on her way to a
winning time of 1:42.48 on the fast track.

Flying Connection (26-1) raced from last in the field of
nine to finish second, three-quarters of a length better than third-place Free
Like a Girl (58-1) with Shotgun Hottie (8-1) yet two more lengths back in

Adare Manor returned $3.40, $3.00 and $2.60; Flying Connection $13.60 and $7.80; and Free Like a Girl $9.40.

Adare Manor had won five races in a row, including her first
Grade 1 score last summer in the Clement L. Hirsch at Del Mar. She finished a
close seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in November, got a four-month break
and then came back with a second-place finish as the even-money favorite last
month in the Beholder Mile (G1) at Santa Anita.

Already a millionaire, Adare Manor pushed her earnings to
$1,736,600 and her record to 16: 8-5-0.


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