William Backer’s homebred filly Blind Date came from off the pace to take a short advantage in mid-stretch, then narrowly outdueled Shared Account to win the $150,000 Virginia Oaks (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) by a head July 18 at Colonial Downs.
A 3-year-old daughter of Not For Love—Snit, by Fit to Fight, Blind Date won for the fourth time in her last five starts and for the fifth time in seven starts overall. The nine-furlong Oaks was her first graded stakes score. The Maryland-bred is trained by Hamilton Smith.
Blind Date raced seventh through the backstretch under Kent Desormeaux while longshot Five Diamonds took the field of 10 through the early going. Oh So Nice, Super Poni, and Shared Account were also close up.
Five Diamonds still had a short lead when they cut the corner until Super Poni fought her way through the inside and took a narrow lead at the top of the stretch. But a host of rivals were charging hard from the outside, including Shared Account, who split horses, and Blind Date, who was swung five-wide by Desormeaux for the drive. Blind Date inched ahead by the narrowest of margins nearing the sixteenth pole and never relinquished her lead.
The final time on the firm turf was 1:49.59. Shared Account was 2 1/4 lengths better than third-place Katara, who came from well off the pace under Alan Garcia.
Blind Date, sent off as the slight favorite, paid $7.20, $3.80, and $3.20. The exacta (10-11) returned $23.40 and the trifecta (10-11-7) was $185.20.
Blind Date entered the race off a seventh-place finish in the June 27 Boiling Springs Stakes at Monmouth Park, but prior to that she won three straight, including a pair of minor stakes at Pimlico. The bay filly has now earned $195,060.