Another showdown between Blind Luck and Havre de Grace will likely have to wait for another day, as Rick Porter said Aug. 19 that Havre de Grace is headed to face males in the $750,000 Woodward Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 3 at Saratoga.
It is unlikely that California-based Blind Luck would be shipped for the Woodward, and it now seems more probable she will stay at Del Mar to face males in the Aug. 28 TVG Pacific Classic (gr. I).
Porter, who owns four-time graded stakes winner Havre de Grace, said there were a couple of factors that led him and trainer Larry Jones to ultimately decide on the Woodward instead of the Aug. 28 Personal Ensign Stakes (gr. I) against fillies and mares.
“I thought if we were going to take a shot at Horse of the Year, we have to meet males sooner or later,” Porter said. “This is probably the best time since we only have two races before the Breeders’ Cup. Hopefully we can take a shot at the (Breeders’ Cup) Classic too, but that’s down the road.
“We had two choices for her next race, the Personal Ensign or the Woodward. We wanted to meet Blind Luck because everyone wants to see these two horses hook up again, but I talked to (NYRA stakes coordinator) Andrew (Byrnes) and he said (Hollendorfer) hasn’t made any plane arrangements for Blind Luck.
"I know he’s not coming. It makes no sense for us to run for $300,000 (in the Personal Ensign). That wouldn’t help us for Horse of the Year, especially if Blind Luck runs well in the Pacific Classic.”
Earlier on Aug. 19 Hollendorfer said he has not made a decision on Blind Luck’s next race, but made it clear his primary concern is not another showdown with Havre de Grace. The two horses have met a total of six times, with Blind Luck winning three of them including the July 16 Delaware Handicap (gr. II). Havre de Grace has won two of the meetings.
“I never get involved in what someone else is doing with their horse,” Hollendorfer said. “I’m not looking for a challenge or a match-up. Where I come from, you mind your own business and just race.”
Hollendorfer said he and the owners would likely make a decision on Blind Luck's next start the week of Aug. 21.
As for Havre de Grace, a three-time graded stakes winner this year including the Apple Blossom Invitational (gr. I), she will likely meet a Woodward field that includes Convocation, Duke of Mischief, Giant Oak, Flat Out, and either Mission Impazible or Rule from Todd Pletcher’s barn. Porter said they are considering either the Oct. 1 Beldame Invitational (gr. I) at Belmont Park or Oct. 9 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland for her Breeders’ Cup prep.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we went off as the favorite in the Woodward,” Porter said. “She has shown that can run big numbers consistently. As long as she doesn’t take a step backward from last race I think she has a good chance.”