Ashado leads field in Apple Blossom Handicap.

Ashado leads field in Apple Blossom Handicap.

Skip Dickstein

Ashado Heads Apple Blossom Nominations

Champion Ashado, winner of the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) last fall, heads the list of 19 nominations to the $500,000 Apple Blossom Handiap (gr. I), going 1 1/16 miles April 9 at Oaklawn Park.

Horse of the Year Azeri, who was retired and bred this winter, won the previous three runnings of the Apple Blossom.

Ashado, who has been training at Palm Meadows with trainer Todd Pletcher, will be making her first start as a 4-year-old in the Apple Blossom. Ashado has a career record of 9-3-2 from 14 career starts and has banked more than $2.8 million.

Pletcher has also nominated Colony Band, second in the recent Azeri Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III), and Isola Piu Bella, a Chilean import, who won the Sabin Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park.

Madcap Escapade, whose only career loss came to Ashado in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I), also remains eligible. The Frank Brothers-trainee has a career mark of 5-0-1 from six starts, including an easy tally in the recent Shirley Jones Handicap (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park.

Additional nominees include: Casual Attitude, Dream of Summer, Good Student, Hollywood Story, House of Fortune, Island Fashion, Island Sand, Miss Loren, Miss Terrible, Pampered, Platinum Ballet, Shadow Cast, Slewpy's Storm, Star Parade, and Two Trail Sioux.