Unbeaten mare Zenyatta will face a small field in the Apple Blossom Stakes (1800m) at Oaklawn Park on Friday.
The Group 1 for mares was initially the target for both Zenyatta and Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra but the anticipated showdown was foiled when the latter was beaten in the New Orleans Ladies Stakes on March 13. The Apple Blossom purse would have been $5 million if both mares had run in the Arkansas feature, however, it’s still worth $500,000.
Zenyatta (5m Street Cry – Vertigineux by Kris S) will be shooting for her 16th consecutive victory without a defeat. Trained by John Shirreffs for Jerry and Ann Moss, she was a first-up winner of the G1 Santa Margarita Handicap (G1) at Santa Anita on March 13.
The remainder of the field comprises Be Fair (Exchange Rate), Taptam (Pleasant Tap), War Echo (Tapit) and Just Jenda (Menifee). The Apple Blossom is timed to start at 9.25 AM (AEST) on Saturday.
VERTIGINEUX foaled a filly by Coolmore sire Henrythenavigator in Kentucky last month. Besides Zenyatta, she is also the dam of G1 winner Balance.
Vertigineux was named US Broodmare of the Year in 2008. She was owned by Eric Kronfeld’s Maverick Productions before being sold privately last year.