Apple Blossom Handicap

The Apple Blossom Handicap is an American Thoroughbred horse race run each year in early April during the Racing Festival of the South at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The Grade I race is open to Fillies and Mares, four years old and up. A premier event for distaffers in the Spring, it is run over a distance of one and one-sixteenth miles on the dirt and currently offers a purse of $1 Million though these conditions are subject to change, as noted below.

Apple Blossom Handicap
Grade I race
LocationOaklawn Park
Hot Springs, Arkansas
Race typeThoroughbred - Flat racing
Race information
Distance1 116 miles (8.5 furlongs)
QualificationFillies / Mares
Four-years-old & up
Purse$1 Million (2020)

First run in 1958, the Apple Blossom was held again in 1963 and then resumed as an annual event in 1968. Until 1973 it was run as a handicap purse but grew to become a Graded stakes race. Over the years it has been run at various distances:

  • 1-1/8: 2010
  • 1-1/16: 1958, 1980–2009, 2011–present
  • 6 furlongs: 1963, 1968–1974
  • 1 mile 70 yards: 1975–1979

2010 Edition proposalEdit

On February 4, 2010, Oaklawn Park president Charles J. Cella announced possible major changes to the race. After negotiations with the owners of the two top females in U.S. racing in 2009, Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta, Cella announced that the purse would be increased to $5 million if both horses start in the 2010 edition of the race. If both stars race, the Apple Blossom will be run as a special weight invitational instead of an open handicap, with other top fillies and mares invited to race against them; all runners will carry 123 pounds (55.8 kg); and the race will increase in length to ​1 18 miles (9 furlongs). If one or both do not race, the race will be run under handicap conditions with its original purse of $500,000. The distance will not revert to 8.5 furlongs for the 2010 edition regardless of starters.

As of February 11, 2010, the owners of Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra respectively indicated their mares would run in this Handicap contingent upon their health and success in their respective prep races.[1] However, on March 14, 2010, the day after a loss in the 1st running of the ​1 116 miles $200,000 New Orleans Ladies at Fair Grounds in New Orleans to Zardana, the connections of Rachel Alexandra announced that she would not run in the Apple Blossom.


Speed record: (at current distance of 1-1/16)

  • 1:40.29 - Heatherten (1984) (New race and track record)

Most wins:

  • 3 - Azeri (2002, 2003, 2004)

Most wins by a jockey:

Most wins by a trainer:

Most wins by an owner:


2020 Ce Ce 4 Victor Espinoza Michael McCarty Bo Hirsch LLC 1:43.14
2019 Midnight Bisou 4 Mike E. Smith Steve Asmussen Bloom Racing Stable, LLC 1:43.88
2018 Unbridled Mo 5 Ricardo Santana, Jr. Todd A. Pletcher Red Oak Stable (Brunetti) 1:43.94
2017 Stellar Wind 5 Victor Espinoza John W. Sadler Hronis Racing 1:42.75
2016 Forever Unbridled 4 John R. Velazquez Dallas Stewart Charles E. Fipke 1:43.08
2015 Untapable 4 John R. Velazquez Steve Asmussen Winchell Thoroughbreds 1:42.96
2014 Close Hatches 4 Joel Rosario William I. Mott Juddmonte Farms 1:42.75
2013 On Fire Baby 4 Joe M. Johnson Gary G. Hartlage Anita Cauley 1:44.13
2012 Plum Pretty 4 Rafael Bejarano Bob Baffert Peachtree Stable 1:42.64
2011 Havre de Grace 4 Ramón A. Domínguez J. Larry Jones Fox Hill Farms 1:42.19
2010 Zenyatta 6 Mike E. Smith John Shirreffs Ann & Jerry Moss 1:50.71
2009 Seventh Street 4 Rajiv Maragh Kiaran McLaughlin Darley Stable 1:43.13
2008 Zenyatta 4 Mike E. Smith John Shirreffs Ann & Jerry Moss 1:42.64
2007 Ermine 4 Eddie Castro Ronny W. Werner Oxbow Racing LLC 1:44.02
2006 Spun Sugar 4 Mike Luzzi Todd A. Pletcher Stronach Stables 1:42.59
2005 Dream Of Summer 6 Pat Valenzuela Juan J. Garcia James Weigel 1:43.86
2004 Azeri 6 Mike E. Smith D. Wayne Lukas A. E. Paulson L Trust 1:41.20
2003 Azeri 5 Mike E. Smith Laura de Seroux A. E. Paulson L Trust 1:43.00
2002 Azeri 4 Mike E. Smith Laura de Seroux A. E. Paulson L Trust 1:42.75
2001 Gourmet Girl 6 Calvin Borel Pico Perdomo Gary A. Tanaka 1:42.15
2000 Heritage Of Gold 5 Shane Sellers Tom Amoss Jack Garey 1:42.22
1999 Banshee Breeze 4 Jerry D. Bailey Carl Nafzger Jayeff B. & J. Tafel 1:41.64
1998 Escena 5 Jerry D. Bailey William I. Mott Allen E. Paulson 1:40.95
1997 Halo America 7 Calvin Borel Bobby C. Barnett John A. Franks 1:41.60
1996 Twice The Vice 5 Chris McCarron Ronald W. Ellis Martin & Pam Wygod 1:41.60
1995 Heavenly Prize 4 Pat Day C. R McGaughey. III Ogden Phipps 1:42.60
1994 Nine Keys 4 Mike E. Smith Angel Penna Jr. Lazy F Ranch 1:42.00
1993 Paseana 6 Chris McCarron Ron McAnally Sidney H. Craig 1:41.80
1992 Paseana 5 Chris McCarron Ron McAnally Sidney H. Craig 1:42.00
1991 Degenerate Gal 6 Pat Day Burk Kessinger Jr. Ronald W. McDonald 1:41.20
1990 Gorgeous 4 Ed Delahoussaye Neil D. Drysdale Robert N. Clay 1:40.40
1989 Bayakoa 5 Laffit Pincay Jr. Ron McAnally Janis & Frank Whitham 1:41.60
1988 By Land By Sea 4 Fernando Toro Gary F. Jones Jones & Jayeff B. Stable 1:41.20
1987 North Sider 5 Angel Cordero Jr. D. Wayne Lukas P. Paternostro/Lukas 1:41.20
1986 Love Smitten 5 Chris McCarron Edwin J. Gregson Gail & Del Chase 1:40.40
1985 Sefa's Beauty 6 Pat Day William I. Mott Farid Sefa 1:42.20
1984 Heatherten 5 Sam Maple William I. Mott John A. Franks 1:40.20
1983 Miss Huntington 6 Jorge Velásquez D. Wayne Lukas Eugene V. Klein 1:44.80
1982 Track Robbery 6 Ed Delahoussaye Robert L. Wheeler Summa Stable 1:45.20
1981 Bold 'n Determined 4 Ed Delahoussaye Neil D. Drysdale Saron Stable 1:44.20
1980 Billy Jane 4 John L. Lively Mitch Shirota A. Savill 1:43.60
1979 Miss Baja 4 Eddie Maple Joseph B. Cantey Lockhart Spears 1:43.00
1978 Northernette 4 Donald Brumfield C. R McGaughey III Peter M. Brant 1:42.00
1977 Hail Hilarious 4 Don Pierce Neil D. Drysdale Saron Stable 1:41.40
1976 Summertime Promise 4 Darrel McHargue Jack Van Berg Kenneth Opstein 1:40.60
1975 Susan's Girl 6 Jimmy Nichols J. L. Newman Fred W. Hooper 1:42.40
1974 Big Dare 4 Bobby Ussery Joseph P. Dorignac III Joseph P. Dorignac, Jr. 1:11.80
1973 Levee Night 5 Danny Gargan R. Gillem C. F. Shouse 1:11.00
1972 Plenty Old 5 Robert. L. Baird D. Smith Audley Farms 1:09.60
1971 Sir Realist 5 Harlon Dalton O. Battles Irene Udouj 1:10.20
1970 Zuke's Bad Boy 4 Robert Mundorf Robert L. Irwin M. Van Berg Stable 1:11.00
1969 Jay Roam 4 Larry Snyder Robert L. Irwin M. Van Berg Stable 1:10.20
1968 Roman K 4 Hector Viera J. Brennan K. Knapp 1:10.80
1963 Submerge 4 Danny Weiler L. C. Bauzeville Verna Lea Farm 1:15.20
1958 Count DeBlanc 3 Johnny Sellers C. Norman C.& J. Riedinger 1:43.40
* In 1968 Big Tom won the race but was disqualified.

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ Mary Rampellini (February 4, 2010). "Zenyatta, Rachel matchup worth $5M". ESPN. Retrieved May 12, 2018.

External linksEdit