Jockey Pat Day will ride D. Wayne Lukas-trained Spain for the first time since winning the Turfway Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III) in September of 2000 in the $500,000 Apple Blossom (gr. I) on April 6 at Oaklawn Park. Day, who won a record 12 consecutive riding titles at Oaklawn from 1983 to '94, could help Spain break Serena's Song's record for career earnings by a female. The $300,000 winner's share of the purse would push Spain over Lukas-trained Serena's Song.
Spain won the 2000 Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) under Victor Espinoza, but has lost her last ten races. Espinoza was in the irons for nine of those losses.
In Spain's only career race under Day, she earned a one-length win over Ruby Surprise at Turfway Park.
"I'll tell you what I remember about that race," trainer Robert Holthus said Saturday. "Ruby Surprise was gaining on Spain on the outside when Pat whacked my mare across the face several times with the whip. I claimed foul, the pictures were pretty conclusive, at least to me, but they left the number up."
Spain was assigned 117 pounds for the Apple Blossom by Pat Pope, the track's racing secretary. Affluent and Miss Linda are the 118-pound co-highweights, with Azeri, and Fleet Renee also assigned 117 pounds.
Michael Dickinson-trained Fleet Renee, who will be ridden by John Velazquez, vanned in from Memphis Saturday after flying from Baltimore.
Others likely for the race are Atelier (115 pounds) and Verruma (113), with a decision on Caressing (112) to be made Tuesday.