The last two winners of the Apple Blossom return to race against each other this year, and both of them were named champions in 2021. 2021 Apple Blossom winner Letruska was the leading older dirt route mare of 2021. 2020 Apple Blossom winner Ce Ce was better than ever in sprints in 2021, being named the top female sprinter, but she is a top horse at two turns as well.
Though only three other horses drew in to face them, both Clairiere and Maracuja are already Grade 1 winners in their own right as well. Though Miss Imperial has yet to win at the top level, she is a hardy horse with 14 wins already, and strong Oaklawn form. In short, the 2022 Apple Blossom is a race you cannot miss.
All-time greats like Zenyatta, Azeri, and Bayakoa grace the winners’ list for the Apple Blossom. Who will join — or repeat their name on — the list this year? Read on to find out!
Apple Blossom Handicap Field
This is the official field for the 2022 Apple Blossom Handicap including draw numbers, trainers, jockeys, and morning lines:
Maracuja (Rob Atras/Ricardo Santana, Jr.) - 6/1
Letruska (Fausto Gutierrez/Jose Ortiz) - 7/5
Clairiere (Steve Asmussen/Joel Rosario) - 5/2
Miss Imperial (Jerry Hollendorfer/Tiago Pereira) - 12/1
Ce Ce (Michael McCarthy/Victor Espinoza) - 2/1
Keep in mind that these morning line odds are just the track’s best estimate for what the betting will look like on race day. At the track, you will not be able to lock in these odds on your horse.
Your best bet in the 2022 Apple Blossom is to make an account at a top online sportsbook and bet the race online! Unlike the racetrack, sportsbooks will let you lock in your odds the moment you wager. This means that you can be sure you have the best price at the moment you lock in your odds, and will not lose profit if others decide to back your pick later.
These are the current odds on the contenders in the Apple Blossom:
Apple Blossom Handicap Online Betting
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Apple Blossom Handicap Handicapping
With your betting account all set up, it’s time to start handicapping the race! Get to know the contenders here, and then you’ll be all ready to bet the 2022 Apple Blossom.
Apple Blossom Handicap Favorites
The favorites in the Apple Blossom will likely be Letruska and Ce Ce, the last two winners of the race.
It’s good to be the best horse in the race, and it’s even better when you’re also the horse with a pace advantage. Letruska is not only the top two-turn mare in the field, but she also shapes as the controlling speed in a field of only five. Though better-than-usual horses will be chasing her home she can dig in and reject the best, just as she did when outgaming Monomoy Girl in the 2021 edition of the Apple Blossom.
The other horse likely to be heavily bet is Ce Ce. She has tactical speed going both short and long, a plus in a race like this. However, her classiest and most consistent form tends to come at one turn, not two. Her ability to track near the pace, combined with her good Oaklawn form, should be enough to get her in the money. But, she has yet to beat a horse like Letruska going this long.
Apple Blossom Handicap Field
Clairiere is the most interesting of the rest of the horses in the race. Though she is a closer, she can get moving sooner than many closers, which should play to her advantage in a short field at Oaklawn, a race track that does play well enough to closers who can make well-timed moves. She needs a step forward to beat a divisional star like Letruska, but her stamina and running style make her a strong candidate for the exacta.
Maracuja is the other Grade 1 winner in the field, and she started her year the right way with an allowance win over the local course. However, she faces some challenges. This race is only a mile and a half. She is less a closer with a kick than she is a grinder. She can win a war of attrition, as she did in the ten-furlong Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) last year. But, this race is too short for her to beat truly top horses.
Miss Imperial rounds out the field. She is the only horse in the field who is not yet a Grade 1 winner. She has gotten some shares in allowance races at Oaklawn, making her better than the average Assiniboia Downs horse. However, she was three lengths adrift of Maracuja last out and these horses are better. Furthermore, her best weapon is her early speed, and she is not fast enough to outjump Letruska unless the latter breaks extremely poorly.
Free Apple Blossom Handicap Picks
Given the field size, and given the proven class of the field, it makes sense to make well-focused bets with very specific combinations. These are your free expert picks for the 2022 Apple Blossom Handicap:
$20 to win - #2 Letruska
$1 exacta - #2 Letruska over #3 Clairiere
$0.50 trifecta - #2 Letruska over #3 Clairiere over #5 Ce Ce