Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Blind Luck looks to stay unbeaten on dirt and score her fourth graded stakes victory of the season when she ships in for the $250,000 Delaware Oaks (gr. II) on July 10.
The Pollard's Vision filly is expected to arrive at Delaware Park July 7after shipping in from her Southern California home base at Hollywood Park. She will face six rivals in the 1 1/16-mile race, which highlights Delaware’s 11-race program.
In her most recent outing, Blind Luck ran second in the Hollywood Oaks (gr. II) on June 6, her first effort since taking the Kentucky Oaks by a nose at Churchill Downs in April. Trainer and co-owner Jerry Hollendorfer does not race horses very often at Delaware, but he feels this is the right spot for his filly.
“You hate to ship into another track where we are not as familiar,” said Hollendorfer. “It makes it that much more difficult because you aren’t sure whether or not your horse will like the racetrack. But we have a quality filly and I think she can adjust. My goal is to run well in the Delaware Oaks and then point her to the Alabama (gr. I) at Saratoga on Aug. 21.”
Blind Luck has not lost in three starts on dirt. In addition to her Kentucky Oaks triumph, she broke her maiden on the Calder dirt in 2009 and drew away late to grab the Fantasy Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park April 2. Overall, the chestnut filly is 7-2-2 from 11 starts and has earned more than $1.4 million.
Blind Luck will also get a new rider for the Oaks, as Joel Rosario replaces Rafael Bejarano. Bred in Kentucky by Fairlawn Farm, she is out of the Best of Luck mare Lucky One.
The even-money morning-line choice, Blind Luck will be tested by a pair of Delaware-based fillies, Brereton Jones’ No Such Word and Fox Hill Farm’s Havre de Grace. Only a neck separated the pair in the June 5 Go for Wand Stakes, the local prep for the Oaks, with No Such Word getting the nod.
No Such Word, the 7-2 second choice, sports a career record of four wins from 11 starts. In her last race on June 5, the daughter of Canadian Frontier won the 1 1/16-mile Go for Wand by a neck. Previously, the Cindy Jones trainee ran second in the Black-Eyed Susan (gr. II) at Pimlico. She ran third against Blind Luck in the Fantasy prior to scoring the Honeybee (gr. III) back in March.
“Blind Luck is the real deal,” said Jones. “We are just hoping that we have an advantage in training here and having raced on the track. Blind Luck comes from way out of it, so you never know if she is going to be able to run them down over this track. But No Such Word is doing fantastic and you could not ask for her to be doing any better.”
Terry Thompson has the call.
Havre de Grace has won twice in four starts. The Go for Wand was her first test against stakes company, but trainer Tony Dutrow thought enough of that race to give the Kentucky-bred daughter of Saint Liam a shot in the Delaware Oaks.
“It was fun to watch and based upon that performance I think she deserves a shot at this spot,” said Dutrow. “We are hoping she continues to move forward and she has led us to believe that she will, but Blind Luck is a well accomplished filly that deserves a great deal of respect.”
$250,000 Delaware Oaks (gr. II, Race 9, 4:51 p.m.), 3YO Fillies, 1 1/16 Miles (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Derwin's Star (FL), J Valdivia Jr., 116, S Klesaris
2. No Such Word (KY), T J Thompson, 120, C Jones
3. Calypso Queen (FL), A Cintron, 116, A Ali
4. Worship the Moon (FL), J Shepherd, 116, M Shuman
5. Blind Luck (KY), J Rosario ,122, J Hollendorfer
6. Listen In (PA), J Rocco Jr., 116, J E Kasperski, Jr.
7. Havre de Grace (KY), J Rose, 116, A W Dutrow