Apple Blossom Predictions, Picks, Odds (Oaklawn Park)

Apple Blossom Post Position and Odds

Odds for Apple Blossom 2022 taken from Twinspires Sportsbook!

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
1 MARACUJA 6/1
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R Santana Jr R Atras
2 LETRUSKA 1/1
BET NOW
J Ortiz F Gutierrez
3 CLAIRIERE 5/2
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J Rosario S Asmussen
4 MISS IMPERIAL 30/1
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T J Pereira J Hollendorfer
5 CE CE 5/2
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V Espinoza M McCarthy

Best Bets for the Apple Blossom

Here are my plays ($50 in total)

$15 Trifecta Part Wheel – Letruska over Clairiere over Maracuja and Ce Ce = $30

$10 Trifecta Part Wheel – Letruska over Maracuja over Clairiere and Ce Ce = $20

Top Pick:

Letruska (1/1)

apple blossom oaklawn park 2022

Short on quantity, but long on quality, Letruska tops a group of four Grade 1 winners in a five-horse field set for Saturday’s $1 million Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park.

The defending champion of the Grade 1 race won a thriller over Monomoy Girl last year on her way to an Eclipse Award as the champion older dirt female. In her only start this year, the 6-year-old daughter of Super Saver won as easy as can be in the Grade 3 Royal Delta at Gulfstream Park.

Ce Ce also took home a championship last year, as the outstanding sprinting female, but is 2-for-2 at the 1 1/16 mile distance at Oaklawn Park. Those two local victories came in the 2020 edition of the Apple Blossom and last month’s Grade 2 Azeri Stakes.

One of the top 3-year-old fillies in the nation last year, the regally bred Clairiere will be making her second start of the season for trainer Steve Asmussen. The Grade 1 winning daughter of Curlin crushed allowance competition at Fair Grounds on March 15.

The fourth Grade 1 winner in the field is Maracuja. Her credentials don’t quite stack up to the other three, but she did defeat the champion Malathaat and Clairiere in last summer’s Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga. The Honor Code filly also won her return, which came in an Oaklawn allowance race on April 1.

Try our free horse racing calculator to work out your winnings!

Apple Blossom Predictions and Race Analysis

Letruska

Despite the presence of three other Grade 1 winning females in the field, I am finding it very hard to look past the returning champion. We know that she is beatable, as evidenced by her sound defeat in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, but that came while pressuring the pace of ridiculous early fractions.

Saturday’s scenario should be the complete opposite, as much like her seasonal debut, she should have no trouble dictating things on the front end in the Apple Blossom. I have no doubts that classy mares like Ce Ce and Clairiere will try to make a run at her before they hit the stretch, but that only takes them out of their own best game.

It’s always worth taking a look to see if the heavy favorite can be beaten, but sometimes the smart money is on the chalk. I think she wins this wire-to-wire. She is the top pick.

Clairiere

That was a very impressive return to the races she made last month in New Orleans, after finishing off last year in solid fashion. It would be easy to believe that the daughter of Curlin is sitting on a big year, and Saturday could be the beginning of her own championship season.

It might be, but I am not ready to pick her over Letruska just yet. At least in the field without any other legitimate speed. It will likely be up to either her or Ce Ce, or both, to attempt to go after Letruska sooner than later on Saturday, and that probably limits both of their chances for the win.

I do believe that this one has more Grade 1 victories in her future, but I am of the belief that this is just not the spot in which to defeat Letruska.

Ce Ce

There is a lot to like about Ce Ce. She is a champion and earner of over $2 million in a career which has seen her win 9-of-18 lifetime. She is also unbeaten at Oaklawn Park, with two very good wins. Having said all that, I am not sure that this race set-up will be to her benefit.

She has enough natural speed to go after Letruska in the early stages, but that is not her best game. Her finest performances have come when she could relax a little early and then pounce on the turn. I don’t expect that to happen in here, because of the daunting early speed of the favorite.

If she is used too early, trying to stay close to Letruska, I believe she will not have the strong kick that has won her numerous big races. I respect her, but she is not for me this time.

Maracuja

While the other three Grade 1 winners in the field are among the most recognized racing mares in the nation, this daughter of Honor Code has yet to earn that kind of respect. Still, that big win in the Coaching Club American Oaks over Malathaat and Clairiere demonstrates what she is capable of.

It’s also worth noting that her big win came in a short field much like this. With a win over the track, she deserves a shot here and she might be the one that can sit off the pace and watch Ce Ce and Clairiere try to take the race to Letruska early.

She’s fourth best, but offers value and certainly could do better than fourth on Saturday.

Miss Imperial

The longshot of the field, this 6-year-old daughter of Maclean’s Music was a star at Assiniboia Downs the last two years, but unfortunately her eight stakes wins at the Winnipeg oval have not translated down to the U.S.

She is a nice mare who has won 14 times in her career, but is the obvious outsider against this field of Grade 1 winners. Perhaps her tactical speed can keep her in the race early, but I can’t imagine she will be a threat when the real running begins.

How to Watch the Apple Blossom

Apple Blossom Information
What Apple Blossom (Grade 1)
Where Oaklawn Park
When Saturday, April 23 — 3:18pm Eastern time
How to Watch TVG
Purse $1,000,000

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Brian Zipse

Expert on Horse Racing

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

Email: [email protected]