Last year's 2-year-old champion filly and Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Fillies (gr. I) winner won at her fifth different racetrack and captured her fourth graded stakes. She completed the 1 1/16 miles on dirt in 1:43.75 under Garrett Gomez.
Proud Spell was well back of the leaders through six furlongs, but as she did in her runner-up performance in the Oct. 27 Breeders’ Cup, came charging late under Gabriel Saez to make things interesting. The Proud Citizen filly was 1 1/4 lengths in front of Highest Class, who came from last in the seven-horse field to get third.
Indian Blessing entered off a head victory in the Jan. 13 Santa Ynez (gr. II), barely holding off Golden Doc A in her 3-year-old debut. In the Silverbulletday she looked much sharper.
The daughter of Indian Charlie was made to work in the early going, as speedster Miss Missile burst to the lead from post three. Gomez, breaking from post seven, hustled Indian Blessing up close, staying just behind the pacesetter in a :23.87 first quarter. Jolie the Cat, Absolutely Cindy, and Proud Spell were further back.
After rating well, Indian Blessing began to wear down Miss Missile as they made the backstretch, taking over just before they hit the half-mile pole (:47.14). Jolie the Cat continued to run third.
Indian Blessing began to gradually surge clear nearing the final turn and at the top of the stretch had a decisive four-length advantage, seemingly on her way to an easy victory. But at the sixteenth-pole it was clear that Proud Spell, who rallied to take second as she straightened away, was gaining ground from the outside. The problem was the wire came too soon for the Larry Jones trainee, as she had to settle for second best in her 3-year-old debut.
"She liked that dirt," said Indian Blessing trainer Bob Baffert, who also conditioned Silverbulletday, the race's namesake who won the event in 1999. "It was exciting to see. She handled a lot today. She showed today she can get the distance. (Gomez) took hold of her early. I think she likes two turns better. We’ll see how she is after the race, and we may come back (for the Fair Grounds Oaks).”
Gomez said: "She relaxed very nice coming off the (Santa Ynez). She has to learn how to handle two turns. I think she can because she’s a smart filly. She got a little tired with the super-long stretch at the sixteenth pole.”
Indian Blessing, bred in Kentucky, upped her career earnings to $1,567,200. The dark bay filly, who is out of the Flying Chevron mare Shameful, paid $3.40, $2.20, and $2.10. The $2 exacta (7-5) was worth just $7.80.
Jolie the Cat finished fourth, followed by Miss Missile, Absolutely Cindy, and High Surf.