Blind Luck Evens Series With Havre de Grace in Delaware Handicap
Todd Pletcher-trained six-year-old mare Life At Ten was a mere spectator as Blind Luck and Havre de Grace, two sensational four-year-olds battling it out in their sixth career match-up, thundered to the Delaware Handicap (G2) finish line bobbing nose to bobbing nose. Life At Ten was a whopping 18-1/2 lengths behind in the $750,000 event held July 16, 2011 at Delaware Park.
Blind Luck traveled the race's 1-1/4 miles in 2:01.28, pocketing $450,000 to add to her lifetime bankroll which now totals $3,279,520 from 21 starts. The Pollard's Vision mare has 12 victories, seven placings, and has earned two third spot finishes.
The scintillating chase to the wire in the "Win and You're In" Delaware Handicap was worth a trip to the fall 2011 Breeders' Cup World Championships Ladies Classic for the victor. In the 2010 Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic Unrivaled Belle separated herself from the pack to win the event while Havre de Grace went third and Blind Luck got up for second.
Other races in which Blind Luck and Havre de Grace have clashed include the 2010 Delaware Oaks (G2), where the rivalry caught fire. In a deep stretch struggle much like this season's Delaware Handicap, Blind Luck's nose found the wire first. Then in the Alabama Stakes (G1) Blind Luck prevailed by a neck. Havre de Grace exacted revenge in the Parx Racing Fitz Dixon Cotillion Stakes (G2) when she scored by a neck.
The Azeri Stakes (G3) March 19 followed their match-up in 2010's Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic. Havre de Grace grabbed a decisive triumph by 3-1/4 lengths in the Azeri at Oaklawn Park.
Havre de Grace Favored
Handled by Ramon Dominguez, Havre de Grace went off as the Delaware Handicap favorite over Blind Luck and carried 124 pounds to her rival's 122.
Garrett Gomez piloted Blink Luck to the automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic, dropping back with the mare to settle behind the pace set by Life At Ten in the field of just five entrants.
In the final furlong the two courageous fillies fought hoof and toe, with Blind Luck catching Havre de Grace in the stretch, then Havre de Grace edging out front once again, until Blind Luck managed to get the final push at the wire.
Trainer Larry Jones Explodes
Havre de Grace trainer Larry Jones argued his case for unfair weight assignments with post-race interviewers, claiming his charge was overweighted and the two extra pounds cost the filly the victory.
"Blind Luck has won six grade one races, and we've only won one, and we end up with high weight," he argued. Jones said the two horses would not meet again under those circumstances.
Blind Luck trainer and part owner Jerry Hollendorfer explained the situation differently. "Havre de Grace was the nation's top filly coming into this race, and this was her home track, so they gave us a couple of pounds," he said.
Both gentlemen were quoted in the July 23, 2011/No.28 issue of The Blood-Horse magazine in "Race Reports" (p.1964).
Havre de Grace, a St. Liam--Easter Bunnette, by Carson City, bay filly, is owned by Fox Hill Farms.
Next Up for Blind Luck
Hollendorfer said Blind Luck, now winner of three straight graded stakes, would likely next participate in Saratoga's August 28 Personal Ensign Stakes (G1). The chestnut filly foaled by Lucky One, by Best of Luck, ripped off victories in the La Troienne Stakes (G2) May 6 at Churchill Downs and in Hollywood Park's Vanity Handicap (G1) prior to her Delaware Handicap score.
Hollendorfer shares ownership of Blind Luck with Mark Dedomenico, John Carver, and Peter Abruzzo.
The Breeders' Cup World Championships are scheduled this year for running at Churchill Downs, with the females kicking off the first competition on November 4 and finishing with the Ladies Classic. Males will compete on November 5, with the Classic listed last on that day's card.