1 OP The Apple Blossom Hcp (GI)
$1,000.000 4yo&Up F&M 1 1/16m Dirt Hcp Weights
Smokey Stover has Aligned back in fine form and the 4yo filly cashed the biggest check of her seventeen race career, taking Saturday’s Apple Blossom Hcp (GI) by three-quarters of a length. She covered the mile and a sixteenth in 1:411 over the fast OP surface. Hot Summer tried to make a race out of it, pressing the entire length of the stretch, but she had to settle for the second spot, a head better than post time favorite and pace-setter Starship Twister, who was third. It was another half-length back to Ponderosa in fourth.
Starship Twister was sent from the gate with Slim Trip and Grim on her inside, in typical “bunching fashion” they were followed by the three-some of Hot Summer from the rail, Aligned from the outside and Wbf No Regrets between that pair. Continuing the merry-go-round silliness, another gap to the trailers, Shining Moments, Ponderosa from the outside, Creepy Crawlies next to that one and Laffy Crack from the rail.
Around the clubhouse turn and onto the backside, Starship Twister with a comfortable lead, Slim Trim and Grim three lengths back in second, Aligned up three wide, Hot Summer between horses, then a gap to Wbg No Regrets between Creepy Crawlies from the outside and Shining Moments towards the inside, another gap to Ponderosa and Laffy Crack could see them all.
They made their way down the backside and now into the far turn with Starship Twister still showing the way by two, Aligned now moving up on the outside of Hot Summer as Slim Trim And Grim continued to back out of it. Another gap to the trio of Creepy Crawlies on the outside of Wbf No Regrets and Shining Moments on the rail. A length and a half back to Ponderosa and Laffy Crack continued to trail.
Into the lane and nearing the furlong marker, Starship Twister continued to show the way, but Hot Summer was inching up and Aligned was obviously moving fastest of all from the outside. There was a gap of three back to the rest that were fighting for scraps… the run to the wire was on.
Inside the final sixteenth and to the finish, Starship Twister was feeling the heat as Aligned gobbled her up and went right on by to win by three-quarters of a length. Hot Summer was able to get by in the last few jumps to take the runner-up spot as Starship Twister took the third spot. Ponderosa closed a late gap to take the minor money with Laffy Crack also finishing strong to end in a dead-heat with Wbf No Regrets for the obligatory dead-heat. Creepy Crawlies was seventh, Shining Moments eighth and Slim Trim and Grim tiring to be last in the field of nine. .
$2 Mutuel Prices:
|9 – Aligned||10.70||5.20||3.70|
|2 – Hot Summer||7.00||4.60|
|3 – Starship Twister||4.30|
Track: Fast Time: :233 :47 1:103 1:411
$1 Exacta: 9 – 2 Paid 32.00 $1 Trifecta: 9 – 2 – 3 Paid 379.20
Aligned 4p first turn tracking the pace, drifted wider into the lane while moving closer to the pace, up to confront leader at the sixteenth pole, kicked clear late. Hot Summer tracked the pace between horses, drifted slightly into the lane, game to the finish, second best. Starship Twister sharp break, set the pace to the sixteenth marker, could not go on. Ponderosa lacked early interest, fanned widest of all into the lane, good late foot. Laffy Crack trailed, best foot too late. Wbf No Regrets forwardly placed, nothing left for the drive. Creepy Crawlies mid-pack, asked, didn’t fire. Shining Moments was outrun. Slim Trip And Grim saved ground to no avail, tired.
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