by Alan Porter
Few performances by a juvenile this year were more impressive than the one that Blind Luck produced Dec. 20 when capturing the Hollywood Starlet Stakes (gr. I) (VIDEO). Exploding clear of her field, Blind Luck scored by seven lengths. Her time was 1.34 seconds faster than that achieved by likely champion 2-year-old colt Lookin At Lucky in the CashCall Futurity (gr. I) (VIDEO) over the same track and distance the previous day.
An $11,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling, Blind Luck started the year in much humbler company, being saddled by James Hatchett for a 4 1/2-furlong maiden claiming $40,000 event at Calder Race Course. However, as Jerry Hollendorfer, who has trained her for every start since that event, said, “She was never a $40,000 claimer,” and she took her debut by 13 1/4 lengths. Purchased privately after that start, Blind Luck won a 5 1/2-furlong starter allowance event at Del Mar for Hollendorfer on her next outing. From then on she has raced exclusively in grade I company. Second to the subsequently-retired Mi Sueno in the Darley Debutante Stakes (gr. I), she rebounded to take the Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I) by 2 1/2 lengths. Her only other outing saw Blind Luck sent forth as favorite for the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). Steadied into the first turn, she fought her way into contention but missed by less than a length to the late-closing She Be Wild and Beautician.
Blind Luck’s victory propelled Pollard's Vision to third on the leading freshman sires list, and he is also fourth on the leading sires of 2-year-olds table. Pollard’s Vision has been one of the surprise stories of this current freshman crop, in part because he is a son of Carson City, a stallion who has not generally come up to expectations as a sire of sires (although this year his sons Cuvee and City Zip are fifth and sixth on juvenile standings, while another freshman son, Hear No Evil, has two stakes winners from seven starters), and partly because he was a middle-distance runner who improved with age. In that respect, he’s an atypical Carson City, a speedy son of Mr. Prospector who made his name as a sire of precocious 2-year-olds and high-class sprinters. In fact, in terms of physique and aptitude, Pollard’s Vision far more resembles his broodmare sire, Dixieland Band, and his career profile also somewhat resembles his “uncle” Bowman's Band, a tough customer who was a brother to Pollard’s Vision’s dam, Etats Unis.
Pollard’s Vision did show some promise at 2, winning a maiden at Saratoga and finishing third in the Huntington Stakes. At 3, he developed into a top second-level performer, winning the Illinois and Walmac Lone Star Derbies (both gr. II) and the Leonard Richards Stakes (gr. III), and placing in four additional state derbies. He trained on at 4 to add the National Jockey Club Handicap (gr. III) and earn a pair of grade I placings. Coincidentally, the Suburban Handicap (gr. I) in which he was third was won by Offlee Wild, who currently heads the freshman sire ranks, so their positions in the race presaged the current first-season standings.
Retired to Wintergreen Stallion Station at a fee of $10,000, Pollard’s Vision proved a popular value, siring 96 first-crop foals. Although Pollard’s Vision is not an obvious sire of precocious runners, Blind Luck is clearly no fluke, as he has already sired 18 other winners, with four additional progeny capturing added money events.
Blind Luck, who is TrueNicks rated A+, is out the Best of Luck (by Broad Brush) mare Lucky One, a half-sister to Swale Stakes (gr. III) winner Ethan Man. The granddam is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes-winning sprinter/miler Chas Conerly. Blind Luck’s fourth dam is Going Home II, an imported daughter of Talgo II (a Nearco (ITY) grandson who won the Irish Derby but who probably put up his best effort when second to the immortal Ribot in the 1956 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe). Going Home II never produced a black type winner, but her stakes-placed daughter Girl Returns became dam of the Monmouth Oaks (gr. I) victress Burn’s Return. Even though this is a European family, Going Home II has some links to top-class U.S. production as her dam is half-sister to Tularia, dam of champion 2-year-old and Kentucky Derby (gr. I) runner-up Honest Pleasure and his multiple grade I-winning brother For The Moment.
A pattern in the center makes Blind Luck’s pedigree particularly interesting. Best of Luck, the broodmare sire of Blind Luck, is out of a mare by juvenile champion Chief’s Crown. He is by a son of Northern Dancer out of a daughter of Chris Evert, and Pollard’s Vision’s third dam, Nijinsky Star, is by a son of Northern Dancer out of Chris Evert, so closely related to Chief’s Crown. Pollard’s Vision’s dam is also by a son of Northern Dancer and so is another sire line/dam line relative to Chief’s Crown.