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Champion Stellar Wind returns a winner in Apple Blossom

Stellar Wind wins the Apple Blossom Handicap (photo courtesy Oaklawn)

Hronis Racing LLC.’s Stellar Wind, making her first start since finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, returned in fine fashion to win Friday’s $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap by 1 ¼ lengths over four-time Oaklawn stakes winner Terra Promessa.

The 5-year-old Curlin mare, voted champion 3-year-old filly of 2015, improved her record to eight wins from 14 starts and has now earned $1,813,200. She completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42 3/5 over a fast track under jockey Victor Espinoza. The winner paid $2.80, $2.20 and $2.10 as the heavy 2-5 favorite.

Azeri Stakes winner Streamline was third, followed by Tiger Moth, Divine Elegance and Durango.

"Listen, when I win, nothing is heavy," jockey Victor Espinoza joked about wearing the blanket of white and hot-pink carnations. "I mean, these weigh more than me. But now that I win with Stellar Wind, I feel like they are light.”

One race earlier, Clearview Stable’s Ever So Clever earned a trip to the Kentucky Oaks with her come-from-behind victory in the $400,000 Fantasy Stakes. Following two fifth-place finishes in both the Martha Washington and Honeybee (G3), the Medaglia d’Oro filly rebounded for a 1 ¾ lengths over Chanel’s Legacy. Vexatious was third. Benner Island, the 6-5 favorite, finished fifth.

Ever So Clever earned 100 points toward eligibility in the Kentucky Oaks and is now ranked third with 106 points in the field limited to 14 starts. Chanel’s Legacy is ranked 10th with 51 points after picking up and additional 40 points.

The Fantasy winner completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42 3/5. She returned $33.60, $13.40 and $7 at odds of 15-1.

Live racing resumes Saturday for the final card of the 2017 racing season with a special 12:30 p.m. first post. The day will be highlighted by the $1 million Arkansas Derby and three other stakes.

--Courtesy Oaklawn Racing

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