Eclipse Award winner Indian Blessing and archrival Proud Spell match strides for a third time in the $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II) at Fair Grounds March 8.
Indian Blessing, trained by Bob Baffert, ships back to New Orleans from California for the Oaks after a one-length front-running victory in the Silverbulletday Stakes (gr. III) on Feb. 9. Before that, the daughter of Indian Charlie won the Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) Jan. 13 in her first start this season following her 3 1/2-length triumph in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) last Oct. 27.
Proud Spell was making her 3-year-old bow in the Silverbulletday after being idle since the Breeders’ Cup. The daughter of Proud Citizen was gaining at the end of the Silverbulletday after making up three lengths in the final furlong.
Reigning Eclipse Award winner Garrett Gomez will return from his California base to ride Indian Blessing, who is owned by Patti and Hal Earnhardt III. Indian Blessing will break from the rail and is 3-5 in morning line odds.
Proud Spell, owned by former Kentucky governor Brereton Jones and trained by Larry Jones, will be ridden by regular rider Gabriel Saez, and is 6-5 in the morning line.
With this third rematch of two of the top 3-year-old fillies in the country, only two others have been entered to oppose them. Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC’s Acacia, who broke her maiden in her last outing Feb. 22 at Fair Grounds for trainer Steve Asmussen, will have jockey Shaun Bridgmohan in the saddle. Tomisue Hilbert and John Menard’s Wisconsin Lady, who was most recently second in a first-level allowance race at Fair Grounds Feb. 23 for trainer Neil Howard, will have Robby Albarado aboard.
The Fair Grounds Oaks is the eighth race on the 12-race Louisiana Derby Day card March 8.
Fair Grounds Oaks (gr. II), $400,000, March 8, 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles, 4:48 p.m. CST
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Indian Blessing, 121, Garrett Gomez
2. Proud Spell, 121, Gabriel Saez
3. Acacia, 121, Shaun Bridgmohan
4. Wisconsin Lady, 121, Robby Albarado
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