Cotton Blossom Makes Seasonal Debut in Florida Oaks

A field of eight fillies, including grade III winner Cotton Blossom, will take the gate for the March 17 $200,000 Florida Oaks, going 1 1/16 miles at Tampa Bay Downs.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Cotton Blossom has not started since finishing third, beaten just 2 3/4 lengths, in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) by 2-year-old filly champion Dreaming of Anna and Pletcher stablemate Octave.

At 2, the daughter of Broken Vow -For Dixie, by Dixieland Band, who wears the green and yellow silks of Dogwood Stable, won the Schuylerville Stakes (gr. III) and was second in the Spinaway (gr. I), both at Saratoga.

Cotton Blossom, who has earned $358,380 from a record of 2-1-1 from five starts, will break from post seven and will have the services of jockey John Velazquez.

Expected to give Cotton Blossom chase in her sophomore debut is the Nick Zito-trained Autobahn Girl, who established a Tampa Bay Downs record for about eight furlongs (1:38.39) in scoring a three-length win in the Feb. 17 Suncoast Stakes.

Autobahn Girl (A.P. Indy-Saoirse, by Cure the Blues), who races as a homebred for Live Oak Plantation, brings a three-race win streak into the Florida Oaks, having scored a four-length win in a Jan. 25 allowance race at Gulfstream Park. She closed out her juvenile season with a three-quarter-length score in an allowance race at Churchill Downs. 

Daniel Centeno gets the call aboard Autobahn Girl with the pair breaking from post two.

Another filly to watch will be Dinner Break, who comes into the race off a two-length win in the Ocala Breeders' Sales Championship Stakes. The daughter of Tale of the Cat out of the Gato Del Sol mare Romanticat, began her 3-year-old campaign with a second-place effort in a one-mile allowance contest on the turf Jan. 12 at Gulfstream Park. 

Trained by Mark Hennig for Alan Brodsky, Dinner Break will break from post one with Rajiv Maragh holding the reins.

$200,000 Florida Oaks (Race 10, 4:45 p.m.), 3-Year-Old Fillies, 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Dinner Break (KY), 122, Rajiv Maragh
2. Autobahn Girl (KY), 120, Daniel Centeno
3. Saint Barbara (FL), 116, Jose R. Martinez, Jr.
4. Trainee (FL), 116, Jose Lezcano
5. Desire to Excel (KY), 116, Calvin H. Borel
6. Suaveness (FL), 116, (No Rider)
7. Cotton Blossom (KY), 116, John R. Velazquez
8. Maria's Kitty (KY), 116,     Elvis Trujillo