HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - The champion Stellar Wind was bright and alert and downing peppermints on the Oaklawn backstretch Saturday morning, the day after winning her 5-year-old debut in the Grade 1, $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap. She is scheduled to fly back to her southern California base Tuesday, trainer John Sadler said.
"She looks good," Sadler said Saturday. "She ate up. Everything looks tip-top."
Sadler, who trains Stellar Wind for Hronis Racing, said Stellar Wind likely will make her next start at home, in the Grade 1, $400,000 Beholder Mile on June 3 at Santa Anita. The race is the former Vanity.
Stellar Wind on Friday ran a powerful race in the Apple Blossom, stalking the pace from the rail, moving outside of horses, then running down a stubborn pacesetter in multiple Grade 3-winner Terra Promessa. Stellar Wind covered the 1 1/16 miles in a sharp 1:42.75, winning by 1 1/4 lengths in her first start since finishing fourth to Beholder in the Breeders' Cup Distaff in November.
"You're always concerned about fitness when you're shipping out of town, and we did a little bit more with her this year because we knew we'd be running on a surface we weren't quite as familiar with, and so she's good and fit.
"She'd been training really well and we thought she'd run well. We're just glad everything worked out."
Stellar Wind was the champion 3-year-old filly of 2015. Last year she distinguished herself by twice defeating Beholder in Grade 1 races in southern California. Sadler said he is looking forward to the season ahead with Stellar Wind.
"We're hoping she can be a little better this year than even last year," Sadler said. "So, she's definitely in the top group in her division. You know, there's Songbird out there and she's coming back, so there's always a lot of really good horses. But she's one of the best ones out there."
Stellar Wind is a daughter of Curlin, as is Apple Blossom runner-up Terra Promessa.
Trainer Steve Asmussen said Terra Promessa will head to Churchill Downs on Monday. Plans for her will be determined, he said, after discussions with Stonestreet Stables. Asmussen said he was pleased with the race from Terra Promessa.
"Nothing but respect for Stellar Wind and the champion that she is," Asmussen said. "Terra Promessa, I thought it was a new level of effort for her. Very proud of her effort, and she came out of the race in great shape."
Streamline, a Grade 2 winner who was third in the Apple Blossom, will be part of a division of horses trainer Brian Williamson said he plans to send to Churchill.
Sadler was winning his first Apple Blossom. He had sent out Switch to a runner-up finish to Havre de Grace in 2011.