Ce Ce Runs Down Ollie’s Candy In Apple Blossom Handicap

Bo Hirsch’s homebred Elusive Quality filly Ce Ce was up in the final yards of Saturday’s Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn in Hot Springs, Ark., catching front-running Ollie’s Candy and giving the West Coast a 1-2 finish in one of the year’s premier races for fillies and mares. Trained by Michael McCarthy and ridden by Victor Espinoza, Ce Ce covered 1 1/8 miles on a fast track in 1:43.14. She paid $9.80 for the win. Point of Honor was up for third, 2 1/4 lengths back, with Street Band fourth in the field of 14 older fillies and mares.

The winner carried 121 pounds under the handicap conditions of the race, one more than the runner-up and one less than the 2-1 favorite, Serengeti Empress, a dyed in the wool front-runner who never made the lead under Joe Talamo and wound up 11th.

Ollie’s Candy, trained by John Sadler and ridden by Joel Rosario, broke from the rail, while Ce Ce was saddled with the outside post position. Espinoza, who hasn’t ridden in a race since March 22 because of the shutdown of Santa Anita due to the coronavirus pandemic, did his best to save ground going into the first turn as Ollie’s Candy and Cooke Dough battled for the lead. Serengeti Empress raced in third early, alongside Come Dancing, while Ce Ce found a comfortable spot just behind that pair in the run down the backstretch. Opening fractions were :22.20 for the quarter and :45.51 for the half mile.

Cookie Dough began to fade approaching the far turn, six furlongs in 1:10.27, but Espinoza had Ce Ce on the move, going three wide and drawing within a couple of lengths of Ollie’s Candy at the quarter pole.

Ollie’s Candy, coming off a third-place finish to Ce Ce March 14 in the G1 Beholder Mile at Santa Anita, showed last summer while winning Del Mar’s G1 Clement Hirsch that she was a tough customer on the lead. She fought back gamely and just failed to last as Espinoza kept to his task, switching from a right-handed whip to his left, then back to his right hand just before Ce Ce put her head in front at the finish.

The win was the fourth in six career starts for Ce Ce, whose only previous venture outside of California resulted in a fourth-place finish in her stakes debut in the G1 Acorn at Belmont last June.

Ce Ce was produced from another Bo Hirsch homebred, the Belong to Me mare, Miss Houdini who won the G1 Del Mar Debutante for the late trainer Warren Stute in 2002. Miss Houdini was a daughter of G1 winner Magical Maiden, who won the Hollywood Starlet and Las Virgenes for Stute and Hirsch’s father, the late Clement Hirsch, a stalwart of California racing for many years.

Elusive Quality, best known as sire of Smarty Jones, stood at Gainsborough and Darley at Jonabell before his death at the age of 25 in 2018.

The post Ce Ce Runs Down Ollie’s Candy In Apple Blossom Handicap appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.