Champion Proud Spell returns to the races March 12 at Oaklawn Park, making her 2009 debut in a 1 1/16-mile allowance/optional claiming event. Her regular rider, Gabriel Saez, will be aboard as the 4-year-old filly prepares for the Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) April 4 at Oaklawn in Arkansas.
A bay filly by Proud Citizen, Proud Spell hasn’t competed since last September, when she finished second to Seattle Smooth in the Fitz Dixon Cotillion Stakes (gr. II) at Philadelphia Park. In 2008, she captured the Alabama Stakes (gr. I) and the Kentucky (gr. I), Delaware (gr. II), and Fair Grounds (gr. II) Oaks. She earned $1,514,840 during the season and was honored with an Eclipse Award as the outstanding 3-year-old filly.
In 2007, Proud Spell scored in the Matron Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont Park and the White Clay Creek Stakes at Delaware Park before finishing second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Monmouth Park.
Proud Spell’s race March 12, which is the ninth on the day’s card, attracted six other entries, but five-time stakes winner Devil House will be scratched after finishing third in the March 8 Azeri Stakes (gr. III). Proud Spell’s remaining challengers will include Superior Storm, who has captured eight added-money events; Kathleens Reel, winner of the 2007 Prime Rewards Stakes at Delta Downs; Grace Happens, who finished third in the 2007 Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn; and Day of Victory, who was second in the 2008 Panthers Stakes at Prairie Meadows and this year’s Pippin Stakes at Oaklawn.
Larry Jones trains Proud Spell for her breeder, Brereton Jones.