Our Apple Blossom Queen

This weekend the great Zenyatta, perhaps the only living being on the planet I would address as “Your Majesty”, will make her regal presence felt in the Gr.1 Apple Blossom Stakes at Oaklawn Park. This race seems to bring out the greatest mares of their generation, and so it was in 1988 and 1989 when a red comet of an Irish filly named Invited Guest flashed her brilliance.

Invited Guest placed in two consecutive years in the Gr. 1 Apple Blossom in the midst of a stellar racing career that began with several grade three wins in England and France. She went on to win the Gr.3 Dahlia Handicap, the Gr.2 San Gorgino, and the Gr.3 Golden Poppy Handicap in the US, with a lifetime record of 36 starts, 10-7-3 and earnings of $619,942.To honor Invited Guest today we share a photo taken in all her glory at age eleven as she went through the Keeneland Sale as a broodmare.

Photo courtesy of Gayle Van Leer.

Life is long if you are one of the lucky ones, but Invited Guest nearly outlived her luck. At age twenty- five she was advertised as a giveaway horse, and if that tiny ad had not mentioned her racing career, who knows what cruel fate might have awaited her? But the angels had other plans for Invited Guest, and she is here with us today,a queen in her own right, and a cautionary tale.