When it comes to Oaklawn Park Tiz Miz Sue has become a fixture, and a local fan favorite. The six-year-old mare is currently in her fourth campaign at Oaklawn, and is thriving once again. Last year she ran the race of her life when winning the Azeri Stakes, and this year she was able to repeat in that race defeating superstar My Miss Aurelia, as well as local sensation Don’t Tell Sophia. She was unable to parlay last years Azeri into Apple Blossom gold, but this race could set up a little better for her.
If Tiz Miz Sue is able to get the job done, it will be her first Grade 1 victory, and will also put her over the million dollar mark in career earnings. It would be fitting for her to accomplish this feat here at Oaklawn, and would certainly make for quite the celebration for Oaklawn regulars Steve Hobby and Cresran Stables. The task is never easy when trying to win a Grade 1, and this race will be no different.
The headlining shippers include two Kentucky Oaks participants for last year: Grace Hall and Summer Applause. Grace Hall won the Delaware and Indiana Oaks last year, and was able to finish fourth in the Breeders Cup Ladies Classic last November. This year she’s made one start, finishing a distant third in the Sabin Stakes to Royal Delta. One big advantage Grace Hall will have is jockey Joel Rosario. There is no hotter jockey than Rosario right now, as he’s winning races at an alarming rate. Rosario last rode in the Apple Blossom in 2011, when he finished second to eventual Horse of the Year Havre De Grace aboard Switch
Summer Applause comes into the race off a victory at Aqueduct in the Grade 2 Top Flight Handicap. Her last race was the first under trainer Chad Brown, and it can be argued her form and momentum might actually make her more dangerous than Grace Hall. Rajiv Maragh has the mount for the former fourth place Kentucky Oaks finisher. Kentucky Oaks graduates have won this race the last two years, so it’s definitely worth noting Grace Hall and Summer Applause participation and success in that race.
The other four entrants are all locals, headed by Don’t Tell Sophia. She was a runaway winner in both the Pippin and Bayakoa Stakes, and was second in the Azeri Stakes last time out. The horse had every right to regress a little last time out after two top races, and might rebound this time out. Another interesting local is On Fire Baby, who will be making her first start since last May. She was the winner of the Honeybee Stakes here last March, and was fifth in the Kentucky Oaks. The layoff is a concern, but she should be considered a wild card in this one.
She’s All In and Bryan’s Jewel round out the field. She’s All In was the fourth place finisher of the Azeri Stakes, and the second place finisher of the Bayakoa Stakes. Byran’s Jewel has raced once at Oaklawn this meet, winning an allowance race fairly easily.