G1 Apple Blossom race set for tonight
With the Kentucky Derby only two weeks away, all the contenders are prepping for the first Saturday in May. A maximum of 20 horses will enter the Churchill Downs starting gate in Louisville, Kentucky. Although all the qualifying points races are completed, who those 20 horses will finally be is still up in the air, based upon how they train leading up to the most exciting two minutes in sports.
This time of year, thoroughbred racing is typically divided up by age and sex. The Derby is restricted to 3 year olds, and there are many top quality races restricted to 3-year-old fillies, like the Kentucky Oaks. In the second half of the year the three year olds start taking on their elders.
Today’s highlight race is the G1 Apple Blossom. The Apple Blossom is restricted to older fillies and mares, ages four and up. A filly is any female under the age of five. Once a female horse turns five, they are referred to as mares.
Swiss Skydiver, 4, who defeated the boys last year in the G1 Preakness Stakes, was named Champion 3 year old filly in 2020. She is the only filly in the race, as all the others are age 5 or 6. She has already won 4 G1 wins in 13 career starts.
Swiss Skydiver will once again take on 2020 Eclipse Champion older mare, Monomoy Girl, who has won 14 of her 16 lifetime races, in the G1 Apple Blossom at 7:09 p.m. Monomoy Girl has actually crossed the finish line first in 15 of her 16 races, but was disqualified from first to second for interference seven starts back, otherwise she would be going for her 13th straight win.
This 6-year-old mare has already won 6 G1s, even though she recovered from a minor injury during the year she turned 4.
The only time these two outstanding females met was in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff last November. Swiss Skydiver stumbled badly at the start, losing all real chance of winning, and Monomoy Girl won easily.
The Apple Blossom is 1 1/16 miles in length, and there are four other females entered. Multiple graded stakes winner (three G3 wins) Letruska may provide the most stern competition to the two Eclipse Champions. She has won 12 of 17 lifetime, and may get the early lead. Maryland bred, Another Broad, will exit post No. 1.
She is graded stakes placed, but appears to be up against tougher competition in this race. Chance To Shine may be the longest shot on the board. Although she is a stakes winner, it has not been at the higher, graded stakes level. Swiss Skydiver is in post No. 2, Letruska in gate No. 3 and Chance to Shine exits the No. 4 hole.
Getridofwhatailesu will break from post No. 5. She also has won a non-graded stakes and just finished third in a G3. She ran her best career speed figure last time out, and will probably have to at least match that and hope the top two have off days.
FoxSports2 and TVG will televise the Apple Blossom.
And down the stretch they come!