Cotton Blossom Makes Sharp Return in Florida Oaks
Updated: Sunday, March 18, 2007 2:40 PM
Posted: Saturday, March 17, 2007 10:05 PM
Making her first start since a third-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), Dogwood Stable's Cotton Blossom was too much to handle in the $200,000 Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs Saturday.
The daughter of Broken Vow
--For Dixie (Dixieland Band
) edged away in the stretch after sweeping to the lead coming off the far turn with jockey John Velazquez to win by two lengths.
Boosting her earnings to $463,380, Cotton Blossom, saddled by Todd Pletcher, paid $4, $3.40 and $3 as the even-money favorite in the field of eight. she ran the distance of 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.06.
Velazquez settled his mount behind early pacesetters Saint Barbara and Desire to Excel, who went :23 4/5 and :48. Cotton Blossom, on their outside, stalked the pace throughout the backstretch and made her move around the far turn, ranging up three wide after six furlongs were negotiated in 1:12 4/5. Suaveness, sent off at odds of 69-1 with Eddie Castro aboard, finishing second, returning $31 and $12.60 as part of a $140.20 exacta. Maria’s Kitty, one length behind the runner-up under Elvis Trujillo, was $10 to show.
“We had a good position," Velazquez said. "I couldn’t let her settle and get too far back and lose interest. When we came down the lane, she wandered a bit, but when she saw the other horses, she came on.”
Pletcher said that the filly had been training well up to the race and was ready for a big effort in spite of being rested since November.
“It felt good to have her come back," he said. "She had a good, solid career at two, and Mr. Campbell and I decided to freshen her up.”
As for Cotton Blossom’s future plans, Pletcher says, “We’re using this as a prep for either the Ashland (gr. I) or the Fantasy (gr. II).”
J.D. Squires bred Cotton Blossom in Kentucky
Autobahn Girl, the 9-5 second choice, finished fourth, followed by Desire to Excel, Trainee, Saint Barbara and Dinner Break.
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