Adare Manor Dazzles in Apple Blossom

April 13, 2024

Adare Manor. (Coady Photo/Shelby Ridgway)

By Robert Yates

HOT SPRINGS, Ark.—Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is perfect in two career starts in Oaklawn’s signature two-turn race for older fillies and mares.

Heavily favored Adare Manor used a dazzling display of speed to score a 5 ½-length victory over Flying Connection in the $1.25 million G1-Apple Blossom Handicap before an estimated crowd of 38,000 Saturday afternoon at Oaklawn.

Adare Manor, who was ridden by Juan Hernandez, ran 1 1/16 miles over a fast track in a meet-best 1:42.48. She carried top weight of 123 pounds. Adare Manor ($3.40) maintained a comfortable lead through fractions of :23.68, :46.95 and 1:11.14 for 6 furlongs. She opened a four-length lead in midstretch.

Flying Connection, who went off 26-1, finished three-quarters of a length ahead of Louisiana-bred millionaire Free Like a Girl (58-1). Shotgun Hottie, who finished fourth, was followed, in order, by Taxed, millionaire Grade 1 winner Wet Paint, Bellamore, Misty Veil and Honor D Lady.

Baffert also won the Apple Blossom in 2012 with Plum Pretty. He has a record 20 victories in what is now Oaklawn’s four-race Kentucky Derby points series, including the $1.5 million G1-Arkansas Derby (March 30 with Muth. The Arkansas Derby was the richest race in Oaklawn history. The Apple Blossom, previously worth $1 million, equaled the second-richest race in Oaklawn history.

The Apple Blossom was the first victory outside California for Adare Manor, a 5-year-old daughter of champion Uncle Mo who is owned by Michael Lund Petersen. She was purchased for $375,000 at the OBS June sale of 2-year-olds in training and horses of racing age. She has an 8-5-0 record from 16 lifetime starts and earnings of $1,736,600. She went off 3-5 in the Apple Blossom. 

Adare Manor won five consecutive races last year, including the $400,000 G1-Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at 1 1/16 miles Aug. 5 at Del Mar, before finishing seventh, beaten three lengths, in the $2 million G1-Breeders’ Cup Distaff at 1 1/8 miles Nov. 4 at Santa Anita. In her only other start this year, Adare Manor finished second, beaten three-quarters of a length, in the $300,000 G1-Beholder Mile March 9 at Santa Anita.

Racing resumes with a nine-race card Sunday beginning at 12:30 p.m. (CDT).

Winning Jockey (Juan Hernandez/Adare Manor): “(Trainer Bob Baffert) had her ready today. They had a lot of confidence in her. I just felt it right away when I jumped on her. She was so calm, and she was ready to run great. She loves a mile and a sixteenth. If you saw her, she’s huge. She’s really a big filly, so she needs a lot of distance in her races.”

Winning Trainer (Bob Baffert/Adare Manor): “Her first (2024) race (Beholder Mile), the horse that beat her (Sweet Azteca) was a nice horse. It was a little bit short for her. But today, she was ready to move forward. She needed to run that way. I just love the way she’s been training this year. A little freshening helped her. I’m just proud to have so many nice horses. It’s a blessing. To go there with Muth (won Arkansas Derby March 30 at Oaklawn) 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.” 

@PastTheWire I was moved. Had to put the “all 1’s” in the profile name. It’s utterly brilliant.

Mark ALL 1’s (@TriCrownCapper) View testimonials



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