Blind Luck doesn't lose often, but trainer John Sadler seems to have her number. For the second time this spring, a filly he saddled upset the four-time grade I winner when Switch captured the $150,000 Hollywood Oaks (gr. II) (VIDEO) June 6.
As in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) in March when Crisp found the winner's circle for Sadler, it was a dawdling pace that did in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner. Closing from last, as is her custom, Blind Luck couldn't quicken fast enough in the lane as Switch, ridden by red-hot jockey Martin Garcia, overtook pacesetter Camille C and finished strongly to post a 1 1/4-length victory over the 1-2 favorite.
"I have great respect for that filly," Sadler told TVG immediately after the race. "We've beaten her twice now. We've had to catch a break each time."
Breaking from the rail as the second choice, Switch earned her first stakes victory for Sadler and owner C R K Stable. The final time for the 1 1/16-mile Cushion Track test for 3-year-old fillies was a slow 1:44.54.
Switch carried 113 pounds, 10 fewer than the top-weighted Blind Luck.
Just five contested the 1 1/16-mile Oaks, and Joe Talamo, aboard Camille C, wanted to find out if he could put the rest of the field to sleep. With Vision in Gold in second and Switch, tugging early, stalking along the inside, Camille C went the opening quarter-mile in :25.30, the half in :50.11, and six furlongs in 1:14.50.
Blind Luck trailed the field into the stretch before Rafael Bejarano put her to a drive along the inside. Switch, who had angled out from the rail for Garcia, swept past a tiring Vision in Gold and had Camille C well within her sights approaching mid-stretch.
Looking fresh as a daisy, Switch bounded to the lead a sixteenth of a mile out and finished willingly under encouragement from Garcia.
“It’s a good thing that my filly decided to relax," Garcia said. "Earlier in the race she was a little bit rank. As soon as she relaxed, at that point I knew I wouldn’t have any problems. She was in a great position to get the jump on (Blind Luck). When I asked her to go she just took off."
Though Blind Luck, working her way into contention, found her best stride in the final furlong, it was far too late to catch Switch. She finished three-quarters of a length in front of Camille C.
Switch ended a four-race losing streak since breaking her maiden in her debut at Hollywood Park Dec. 13. She finished just a half-length behind Blind Luck when third in the Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park in February, and was coming off a runner-up effort in the seven-furlong Railbird Stakes (gr. III) May 9 at Hollywood.
Now two-for-six in her career with one second and two thirds, Switch boosted her earnings to $189,600 with the victory.
Bred in Kentucky by Calumet Farm, Switch is a daughter of Quiet American--Antoniette, by Nicholas. The bay filly sold for $150,000 as a yearling at Keeneland in September 2008.
"This filly is tactical, so we knew she could get a really good position," Sadler said. "I looked up at the board and saw 25 and 50 and thought that’s really strange. I didn’t expect that slow of fractions. She has a really good turn of foot, so I knew we’d get first jump on the other filly."
Sadler said Garcia replaced Joel Rosario in the Hollywood Oaks because Rosario, who is serving a three-day riding suspension, didn't realize the stakes was a designated race in which he was eligible to compete.
"So after he rode the Belmont yesterday, he went from Belmont (home) to the Dominican Republic," Sadler explained. "I had to get a rider and Martin seemed like a good choice. When you look at the conditions, you want somebody who can do the weight. I was happy to get the 10 pounds from the other filly, Blind Luck.”
Blind Luck, who won the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) on the track at the Oaks distance by seven lengths last December, may have made her last start in Southern California for a while. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said earlier he plans to campaign her in the east this summer, with her target race being the Alabama Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Aug. 21.
Switch paid $7.40, $2.80, and $2.20. Blind Luck returned $2.20 and $2.10, rounding out an $11.20 exacta. Camille C returned $3.20 to show.
Antares World and Vision in Gold trailed.