BLIND LUCK WINS VANITY HANDICAP
Midway through Saturday’s $250,000 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park, jockey Garrett Gomez glanced in front of him to check the margins between his mount, Blind Luck, and Switch, the 3-2 favorite.
With Switch only two lengths in front, a slow pace mattered less to Gomez, who knew Blind Luck would give a response in the stretch.
“I thought I’d still be okay,” he said.
Blind Luck was more than okay. The champion 3-year-old filly of 2010, Blind Luck closed from last in the final furlong to win the Grade 1 Vanity by a half-length over Switch, a performance reminiscent of her five stakes wins last year.
“She loves to run in the lane,” Gomez said.
Miss Match, winner of the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Invitational at Santa Anita in March, finished a neck behind Switch and was followed by St Trinians, She’s Cheeky, and American Story.
The final time for 1 1/8 miles was 1:50.89, the slowest in 60 runnings of the Vanity at the distance, but that was not a major surprise, considering that American Story set a slow pace of 25.52 and 50.24 seconds for the first half-mile.
Blind Luck trailed American Story by five lengths on the backstretch, which caused trainer Jerry Hollendorfer some concern.
“I was a little nervous, but I thought Garrett had her a little closer than he might have normally been,” he said. “I said to him before the race, ‘Try to watch the pace and see what happens.’ She got a great run on them.”
After a wide rally on the turn, Blind Luck was six wide in the stretch and reached the front with about 50 yards to go, denying Switch her first Grade 1 win since the Santa Monica Stakes at Santa Anita in January. Trainer John Sadler wished that jockey Joel Rosario had been closer to the front on Switch and had a larger gap against Blind Luck in the final quarter-mile.
“He might have been a little too far back,” Sadler said of Rosario. “We might have been better off by having a couple of lengths on that horse turning for home, but she ran well.”
Blind Luck won her second consecutive stakes in the Vanity; she won the Grade 2 La Troienne Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 6. The Vanity was Blind Luck’s first Grade 1 win since the Alabama Stakes at Saratoga last August. She later finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at Churchill Downs.
Owned by Hollendorfer, Mark DeDomenico, John Carver, and Peter Abruzzo, Blind Luck, a filly by Pollard’s Vision, has won 11 of 20 starts and $2,829,520. Hollendorfer said the $750,000 Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park on July 16 will probably be Blind Luck’s next race.
by Steve Andersen
On the California worktab
Malibu S. (G1) star TWIRLING CANDY (Candy Ride [Arg]) sizzled five furlongs in a bullet :58 4/5 on Saturday, tying for the fastest of 50 works at the distance on Hollywood Park's Cushion Track. An impressive winner of the Californian S. (G2) in his latest, the John Sadler trainee could vault to leadership of the older male division in the July 9 Hollywood Gold Cup (G1).
ULTRA BLEND (Richly Blended), awarded the victory in the Milady H. (G2) via the disqualification of St Trinians (GB) (Piccolo), traveled in 1:01 3/5.
Multiple Grade 2-placed stakes winner LILLY FA POOTZ (Gilded Time), runner-up in the Wilshire H. (G3) two back, strode in 1:00 2/5.
DAHOUD (NZ) (Scaredee Cat), a close second in the off-the-turf San Luis Rey S. (G2) and most recently successful in an optional claimer, drilled in :59.
Melair S. heroine MILES RULES (Tribal Rule) went in 1:02 3/5, breezing.
KILLER GRACES (Congaree), who just broke her maiden in the Cinderella S., took a half-mile spin in :49 4/5. The Jerry Hollendorfer juvenile will likely contest the July 16 Landaluce S.
TALES IN EXCESS (Tale of the Cat), unraced since capturing the Blue Norther S. on New Year's Eve, zipped in :47 3/5.
Snow Chief S. scorer NAHEM (Bertrando), sixth in an entry-level optional claimer on the turf, covered six panels in 1:15 2/5.
On the fast main track at Santa Anita, Grade 2 veteran CARACORTADO (Cat Dreams) blitzed six furlongs in a bullet 1:12, best of eight at the distance. The Mike Machowsky product was beaten a grand total of three-quarters of a length when sixth in the Alysheba S. (G3) last time.
Multiple Grade 1 queen CHAMPAGNE D'ORO (Medaglia d'Oro), whose half-brother Ruler on Ice (Roman Ruler) upset the Belmont S. (G1), ripped five-eighths in :59 3/5. The Eric Guillot filly was last seen finishing fourth in the January 16 El Encino S. (G2).
BENCH POINTS (Benchmark), still perfect around one turn after capturing the Laz Barrera Memorial (G3), clocked 1:00 3/5.
Grade 3 victress FREEDOM STAR (Street Cry [Ire]), off for 14 months since taking the 2010 Harry Henson H., posted the same time in advance of her return.
Alydar S. runner-up UNCLE SAM (Tapit), never in contention in his turf debut in the Lone Star Derby, exercised in 1:00 4/5.
Grade 3-placed CLASSIC LEGACY (Macho Uno), sidelined since his fifth-place effort in the January 17 San Pedro S., turned in the same time from the gate.
Stakes scorer MISS PLEASANT (Pleasantly Perfect), third in the Wilshire two starts ago, reeled off a half-mile in :48 4/5.
Grade 2-placed sophomore WESTERN MOOD (West Acre) motored four furlongs in a bullet :47 2/5 on the Tapeta at Golden Gate Fields, recording the fastest of 38 trials at the trip. The Hollendorfer pupil was second in an allowance in his comeback.
Multiple Grade 3 veteran AUTISM AWARENESS (Tannersmyman), exiting a fourth in the Berkeley S. (G3), traveled five panels in 1:00.
Get more articles by Noel Michaels here...