#1 Be Fair – 120 lbs – 4 year old
Pedigree: Exchange Rate – Go Donna Go by Wild Again
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas
Jockey: Calvin Borel
Be Fair, trained by Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, is making both her first start since November 7, 2009 and under Calvin Borel. She won her last start, an allowance race at Oaklawn on March 4th, but in her last couple of races she’s faired no better than 5th. Her last stakes win was on August 31, 2009 in the Grade 3 Lake George Stakes at Saratoga.
Be Fair placed 4th in the 2009 Kentucky Oaks, virtually a mile behind 3 year old champion Rachel Alexandra. She looks to be the early speed in the Apple Blossom, which will hopefully setup a quick pace for Zenyatta to run down in the stretch.
#2 Taptam – 117 lbs – 5 year old
Pedigree: Pleasant Tap – Salty Tam by Salt Lake
Trainer: W. Bret Calhoun
Jockey: Clifton Berry
Taptam, trained by Bret Calhoun, is making her first start after a 9th place finish in the Grade 3 Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn (which Just Jenda, 4th, and War Echo, 5th, also ran). The Azeri was her graded stakes debut after starting her 5 year old season with consecutive wins.
Even though she’ll be carrying the least amount of weight in the field, she will be taking on a 9 furlong race distance for the first time. Will she eat up the extra distance or flatten out mid-stretch to see Zenyatta roll on by.
#3 War Echo – 120 lbs – 4 year old
Pedigree: Tapit – Wild Vision by Wild Again
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Jockey: Shaun Bridgmohan
War Echo, trained by Steve Asmussen, attempts to do what John Shirreffs’ Zarkava did to Asmussen’s Rachel Alexandra… upset the champion. War Echo is the winner of the Grade 3 Silverbulletday Stakes and DRF Distaff, both at Fair Grounds. She was 5th in the Azeri Stakes against Just Jenda and Taptam.
War Echo comes into the Apple Blossom without a win this season.
#4 Zenyatta – 123 lbs – 6 year old
Pedigree: Street Cry – Vertigineux by Kris S.
Trainer: John Shirreffs
Jockey: Mike Smith
What’s there to say about Zenyatta? A true 15 for 15 lifetime including wins on synthetics and dirt. The 2008 and 2009 Horse of the Year runner-up is also the defending Breeders Cup Classic winner, when she came from 2nd last at the top of the stretch to beat the top males in the world.
Although the Apple Blossom didn’t work out to be the high profile showdown against Rachel Alexandra that was planned only a month ago, it’s still an important race for Zenyatta as she attempts extend her unbeaten streak to 16.
#5 Just Jenda – 120 lbs – 4 year old
Pedigree: Menifee – Liberty School by Pine Bluff
Trainer: Cindy Jones
Jockey: Terry Thompson
Just Jenda is the only other Graded Stakes winner other than the champion Zenyatta. Just Jenda captured the 2009 Grade 3 Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn and the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks at Monmouth.
However, Just Jenda has lost 3 in a row heading into the Apple Blossom, including a 4th place finish at Oaklawn in the Grade 3 Azeri Stakes. Just Jenda has won 6 out of 13 starts lifetime.just