The victory was the fifth in nine lifetime starts for Spun Sugar, who has placed in her four other outings. The 4-year-old daughter of Awesome Again --Irish Cherry (by
Stronach Stables homebred Spun Sugar gamely held off Happy Ticket in a stretch duel to win Saturday's $500,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) before 29,841 at Oaklawn Park.Getting a good jump out of the gate under Mike Luzzi, Spun Sugar was overtaken by Star Parade briefly before regaining the advantage after three-quarters of a mile was completed in 1:11.97. As Star Parade began to fade when the field turned into the stretch, Spun Sugar was then engaged by Happy Ticket but held her off to win by a neck. The final time for 1 1/16 miles was 1:42.59.Trained by Todd Pletcher, Spun Sugar paid $8.60, $4 and $3.20, with Happy Ticket returning $3.00 and $2.20. La Reason, sent off a 44-1 odds, was 6 1/2 lengths back in third, paying $5.20.
Irish Open) won last year's Black-Eyed Susan (gr. II), while finishing second in the Mother Goose and Alabama and third in the CCA Oaks, all grade I races in New York.This marked the third Festival victory for defending two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, who watched the race on television from Aqueduct, where he earlier saddled the odds-on Keyed Entry to a third-place finish in the Wood Memorial.Pletcher's two previous Festival winners were Graeme Hall and Balto Star, back-to-back winners of the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) in 2000 and 2001.(Chart, Equibase)