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Plum Pretty captures Apple Blossom

Fri 13th, April 2012

Hot Springs, AR (Sports Network) - Odds-on favorite Plum Pretty made a successful return to the races Friday with a win in the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park. The four-year-old filly was using the 1 1/16-mile stakes as her 2012 debut.

With Rafael Bejarano in the saddle, Plum Pretty hung a bit in the gate at the start, but quickly moved into second behind pacesetter Twelve Twenty Two. Holy Heavens was third followed by Absinthe Minded and 2-1 second pick Tiz Miz Sue.

With a half-mile to run Plum Pretty, trained by Bob Baffert, moved along side Twelve Twenty Two with Absinthe Minded in third and Tiz Miz Sue drawing closer on the outside.

Around the final turn the favorite edged past Twelve Twenty Two and proceeded to open her lead. At the top of the stretch Plum Pretty had a clear advantage with Absinthe Minded in second and Tiz Miz Sue in third.

The 1-2 favorite hit the wire 2 1/4-lengths ahead of Absinthe Minded followed by Tiz Miz Sue, Holy Heavens and Twelve Twenty Two.

The time for the Apple Blossom was 1:42.64 on a fast track.

Plum Pretty, owned by Peachtree Stable, earned $300,000 for her initial win of the year. In 11 career starts the filly has five wins for more than $1.65 million.

"She's bigger than she was last year," Baffert noted. "She's filled out and grown up."

The Apple Blossom was Plum Pretty's first start since setting the pace in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic in November. She faded to fifth behind Royal Delta.

Her three 2011 victories came in the Sunland Park and Kentucky Oaks along with a win in the Cotillion Stakes. With Martin Garcia in the saddle, the filly finished second in the Hollywood and Coaching Club American Oaks, and was fourth in the Alabama to champion filly Royal Delta.

Plum Pretty returned 3.00, $2.80 and $2.10. Absinthe Minded paid $3.80 and $2.20, and Tiz Miz Sue paid $2.10 to show.

Azeri won the race 2002-04, Zenyatta won twice in 2008 and 2010 and Havre de Grace captured the Apple Blossom last year.

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