07/16/2011 10:47AM

Showdown at Delaware, Virginia Derby


BLIND LUCK and HAVRE DE GRACE, the two top older fillies in the country, will renew hostilities this afternoon in the $750,000, Grade 2 Delaware Handicap. 

Their rivalry began at Delaware last year with the classy Blind Luck nosing out Havre de Grace in the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks for 3-year-old fillies.  Blind Luck made it 2-2 over Havre de Grace with a desperate neck victory in the Grade 1 Alabama at hallowed Saratoga, but Havre de Grace, in receipt of 10 lbs, necked out her eternal rival in the Grade 2 Cotillion at Parx Racing.  The two warriors ended the 2010 racing season in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic at Churchill Downs.  Although neither won the race, Blind Luck clinched the 3-year-old filly title by finishing second, a length in front of a gallant Havre de Grace. 

Havre de Grace switched barns over the winter and the Saint Liam filly is a perfect 3-3 in 2011 under Larry Jones.  Under equal weights in the Grade 3 Azeri, Havre de Grace handled champion Blind Luck by 3 1/4 lengths. 

Since that race, the two have gone their separate ways with Havre de Grace victorious in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn and the Grade 3 Obeah at Delaware, and Blind Luck a winner in the Grade 2 La Troienne at Churchill and the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood. 

Going into the Delaware Handicap, the scorecard reads:


Blind Luck is a remarkable filly.  She hasn't finished off the board in any of her 20 races and she has not ducked a challenge.  She's won at distances ranging from 4 1/2 furlongs to 1 1/4 miles.  She's won on dirt, polytrack, Pro-Ride, and cushion track.  She's won in Florida, California, Arkansas, Kentucky and New York.  She is, simply, a star.  But, as usual, she will have her hooves full with Havre de Grace today.  Havre de Grace's tactical speed gives her an advantage over Blind Luck, a one-run closer, so it is a testament to Blind Luck's amazing ability that the champion has the edge over Havre de Grace after five races.
Still, Havre de Grace should get the jump on Blind Luck this afternoon and I believe that will give the Jones filly the nod at the wire.  As mentioned, she's come back firing at four and her most recent win in the Obeah was nothing more than a paid workout.  She blazed five furlongs in 57 4/5 in her final morning tune-up and seems razor sharp. 
Expect the overmatched THUNDERING EMILIA and the defending Delaware 'Cap champion, the off-form LIFE AT TEN, to attend the early pace with Havre de Grace tracking them intently.  Blind Luck, under Garrett Gomez, figures to settle comfortably at the back of the five-horse field. 
The key to this race, interestingly enough, may be the star-crossed Life At Ten.  If she folds tamely when Havre de Grace ramps up on the final turn, Blind Luck may have a ton of work to do.  But, if Life At Ten makes Havre de Grace work a bit at that crucial point in the race, Blind Luck may find her foe somewhat leg-weary come the crucial tenth furlong. 
It's a fascinating race between two excellent horses.  If you're a fan of either one, or hopefully both, you really can't lose. 


The Virginia Derby usually draws a strong field and the 2011 renewal is no exception.  Most of the leading 3-year-old turf performers are here including BANNED, the winner of the Grade 2 American Turf and Grade 3 Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs.  Banned is tough, but I have been very impressed lately with STREET GAME, a New York-bred son of Street Cry that has turned his form around since trainer Phil Serpe added blinkers to the arsenal. 
Last time out, in the Grade 3 Hill Prince Stakes at one mile, Street Game stepped to the front, backed down the fractions, opened up again on the turn, and was never threatened late despite his rider blowing the stick in midstretch.  The additional two furlongs is somewhat of a concern, but there doesn't appear to be much pace in this year's Virginia Derby and jockey Edgar Prado may have Street Game on, or near, moderate fractions.
A few years ago, Serpe and Prado shipped I Lost My Choo down to Colonial for a win in the Virginia Oaks.  Perhaps lightning will strike twice with Street Game.


Sunday's Sunset Handicap at Hollywood Park looks like a chalky affair, but the recent exploits of race favorite ACCLAMATION deserve mention.  A killer at Hollywood Park (8-5-0-2 record), Acclamation has won his last two races impressively.  Two back, he dominated FALCON ROCK and company en route to a seven-length win in the Grade 2 Jim Murray Handicap.  Last time out, he went gate-to-wire in taking his second consecutive Charles Whittingham Memorial (Grade 1).  It looks like he'll face some other speed in the Sunset, but Acclamation seems just as comfortable from slightly off the pace and the 12-furlong distance is right up his alley.


Some quick-and-dirty selections:


DRF.COM Handicapper Mike Beer and I break down these races and many, many more in our weekend preview videos.  You can access them by clicking on the following link, scrolling down to the second video player, and then clicking on the race name on the right-hand side of the video player.


Enjoy the weekend.


blackseabass More than 1 year ago
P.Ensign , yeah but I ain't got the onions to bet 1 g on a pic-5 . LOL. Thats Annie's department. At least I knew ahead of time I needed 23 horses to feel about 90% safe. Uncle Steve T. hit it with a $512 ticket with 20 horses. DR. Derango was on fire today. Maybe someone hit it IRL. My single ran second and made a nice Ex & Tri . That was all I needed like I said in the original post. I had a couple of other decent ex & tris that didn't need a lot of horses. & 3 good placers at medium to long odds. I was a little shy on top pick winners though. LOL. DMR ain't no pic-nic. One time I bet a $20 1x1x1 pic-3 there & hit the 1st two legs with $12 & $30 horses. The horse in the third was the program favorite at like 3-1. Easy so & so was his name. He opened up at 1-9 eventually went up to 1-5 . My brother told me I should hedge the ticket a little but I said ,"DON'T MAKE ME LAUGH this horse ain't gonna lose to these bums". Wrong !! I thought I was en fuego. LOL.
blackseabass More than 1 year ago
P. Ensign , you graciously forgot to mention that my $12 ticket didn't have a single winner on it. Which means that after I narrowed it to about 23 contenders I picked 10 from the pool and couldn't scrape up a winner from 5 tries. I left all 5 winners in the lucky 13 that got jettisoned .LOL. Seems like monkeys should be able to do better than that ,right? LOL.
Steve T More than 1 year ago
You are going to get some frontrunning longshots the first week at Del Mar as a lot of the riders go paranoid about the surface. Happens every year. Now you just have to figure out who that is going to be... I would look for a PVal longshot, he doesn't care if they are running on peanut butter, he's going to the front.
meathead01 More than 1 year ago
Steve T longshots at del mar I like to hit the board: R1 #3 Balboa Bay R2 #7 A Big To do R3 #8 Giuseppe G R4 #6 Punch Drunk R5 #13 Blue Grass Music R6 #3 Me Salty R7 #6 Sugar Spike R8 #2 Burns R9 #6 Pico Pico I realize these plays are not the best in their races but I see them having a chance to hit the board and may make some money in the exotic wagers at del mar as you said you have to look long and hard at the pricey horses if you can see something in their pps that might apply today you mentioned patv well take a look at the #11 in the 6th race a potencial wire to wire job at a price good luck steve and thanks for your selections today and your good info on the track and jockeys I will take notice mh01
meathead01 More than 1 year ago
Del Mar Race Track 7-20-11 here is my P5 ,P4s for this first day of racing R1 #s 1,3,7 R2 #s 5,7,8 R3 #s 1,7 R4 #s 1,5,7 R5 #s 6,8 3-3-2-3-2=$54 good luck all no P6 for me thats all folks! mh01
Patrick S More than 1 year ago
Trying to start off the Del Mar with a bang. Trying the Pick 5 today with the following: R1: 1-4-6 *1:Eye On Jacob-hard to go against Baffert/Rosario *4:Times Gone By-O’Neill/Bejarano (32% at DMR, thanks Steve T for the stats), 1 for 1 on DMR *6:Kettle Corn- 2:1-1-0 over AW (although at Arlington), positive trainer switch R2: 8-5 *8-Battle School-O’Neill/Bejarano, drops in class *5-Red Scare-drawing a line through last, trying blinkers for first time, the other speed with the #8 R3: 7-1-5 *7-Sir Ed-O’Neill/Bejarano, dropping in class *1-Devour-the other O’Neill entry, gets the rail *5-Stu’s Gone Wild-dueled in last, still held 3rd, I see the 3 and 4 entering a speed duel, as long as PVal can rate Stu’s Gone Wild, would be the best “speed” selection in here (along with the above 7) R4: 8-3-2-7-10-4-5-1 *pretty much buying this race, although if I had to go small here, would pick the 8, 3, and 10. Maiden races aren’t my forte, so I’d rather be safe. R5: 7-8-9-10 *Could hit the ALL button here as well, but budget doesn’t allow  *7:Nashiller-(thanks again Steve T for the stats) Gaines/Blanc @ DMR (60%), sprint to route (26%) *8-Correspondent-any of his first 3 would be competitive with this group *10-Simply Carina-like the #8, very competitive in previous efforts, although 0 for 8 concerns me, but gets positive jockey switch to Rosario *9-Born Lucky- Machowski 30% with turf, 3rd off layoff, always like Gomez Ticket is $288 (1,4,6/8,5/7,1,5/8,3,2,7,10,4,5,1/7,8,9,10) Gotta love opening days, like starting fresh!!!!
Steve T More than 1 year ago
The first day at Del Mar is like walking over a cliff... Del Mar – Wednesday (07-20-2011) Race 1 – Kettle Corn, Price, Eye on Jacob DD: Galleta Monstruo Race 2 – Battle School, Red Scare, Isle of Prado DD: King Ledley Race 3 – Stu’s Gone Wild, Sir Ed, Devour DD: Classy Lion Race 4 – Cha Cha Latte, Sweet Nothings, Weemissfrankie DD: Cavalletta Race 5 – Correspondent, Mrs Mayor, Simply Carina DD: Last Sting Race 6 – Domonation, Get My Fix, Ominous Thomas DD: E Z Led Race 7 – Desperate Measures, Judge Joan, Queenie Marini DD: You Can Dream Race 8 – Temple’s Door, Mr. Commons, Akkadian DD: Burns Race 9 – Indy Ride, North Fork, Whirling Thunder DD: Pico Pico Race 10 – Don’t Stop Riding, Del Mar Dude, Fairfax Lion DD: Mean Valentine
Steve T More than 1 year ago
Here are the PolyPed Sire scores for the main track races at Del Mar today. An asterisk indicates there is a sample size of less than 5, and a "new" indicates a freshman sire. Like I say every year, use the stats, don't let them use you: Race 1 #1 Eye on Jacob (12) #2 Galleta Monstruo (69) #3 Balboa Bay (50) #4 Times Gone By (41) #5 Big Business (50) #6 Kettle Corn (80) #7 Price (78) #8 Arcodoro (41) Race 3 #1 Devour (53) #2 Unbridled Score (31) #3 Warren’s Gus (40) #4 Giuseppe G (28) #5 Stu’s Gone Wild (100*) #6 Regroup (42) #7 Sir Ed (53) #8 Classy Lion (53) Race 4 #1 Mia Isabel (56) #2 Smoke Train (41) #3 Cavalletta (100*) #4 Lady Fairbanks (61) #5 Love My Way (New) #6 Punch Drunk (New) #7 Weemissfrankie (New) #8 Sweet Nothings (75) #9 Act Sweet (0*) #10 Cha Cha Latte (New) Race 6 #1 Back at You (56) #2 Domonation (57) #3 Me Salty (59) #4 Memphis Mobster (39) #5 Jerry’s Fever (33) #6 Get My Fix (64) #7 Mentidoso (59) #8 EZ Led (67) #9 Ominous Thomas (64) #10 Scratched #11 Fire in Excess (69) Race 7 #1 Queenie Marini (49) #2 Money Lover (49) #3 Desperate Measures (140) #4 Cayanna (50) #5 Judge Joan (83) #6 Sugar Spike (40) #7 You Can Dream (38) #8 Jade Taylor (0*) #9 Fullbridled’s Sis (0) Race 9 #1 Job Boss (68) #2 Indy Ride (80) #3 Courtside Action (56) #4 Whirling Thunder (68) #5 Deputiformer (54) #6 Pico Pico (71) #7 Mr. Saturdaynight (36) #8 Gilligan (36) #9 Racketeer (29) #10 North Fork (40) Race 10 #1 Mean Valentine (86) #2 Omega Storm (33) #3 Fairfax Lion (58) #4 You Little Devil (20) #5 Gahnzo Bob (0) #6 Scratched #7 Iammakingapoint (New) #8 Cabo San Lucas (43) #9 Warren’s Tiger (New) #10 Ignited (40) #11 Let Me Finish (New) #12 Don’t Stop Riding (80) #13 Del Mar Dude (73)
blackseabass More than 1 year ago
DMR, 6th (11),1,2) might be able to bet them all 7th (4) 7) 8th (2,3,8) 10th (9) 12) I think I'll check out my pond and then take a nap before the races Good luck everyone.
Van Savant More than 1 year ago
blackseakreskin; We have wildly different thoughts on the Pick 5...ruh-ro! Good luck to me, I think I need it more... PGM; I see that Giant Oak is being pointed to the Whitney. He generally takes around 12% to 18% of the Win pool, so that is good news. He tends to prop up the prices of others...kind of like First Dude did until Baffert "fixed" him. Rats!
meathead01 More than 1 year ago
Del Mar Track 7-20-11 finnaly finished hadicapping the 3rd,4th, 5th races maidens are not my best suit so here goes but first the 3rd non winners since R3 #4 Giuseppe G shipping in from EMD has early speed and picks up chantel for this and she likes to rate so think she collars some of his early speed for the run home a contender at best #7Sir Ed bejarano takes over for Oniellwhere they are 32% at del mar J/T cutting back in distance to where he has shown he can compeat this one is a late running sprinter #1 Devour runs fresh and retains pedroza for this is a solid type sprinter,closer always runs his race and will be a part of the ticket here trainer gets them ready to run R4 #1 Mia Isabel a very strong factor off last race to win #7 Weemissfranne 47 hg last work shows she is ready for showtime today #6 Punch Drunk trainer 17% with firsters seems ready to debut R5 #8 Correspondent three times the bridesmaid today the bride have to think second with bejarano will do the trick has lost three tight ones at the wire #13 Blue Grass Music back to turf and retains flores to ride trainer 30% 1st claim cuts back to mile will help the cause may like the grass at del mar #6 Honeys Prize first on turf layed back and responded to smith to finish strong late the added distance may get the job done today good luck all mh01
Steve T More than 1 year ago
Tony P, Here is the URL to the Disabled List: https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ak-hpVmgvXrhcE9ERlNXQUVaX3pja1J6dmNmNUFPZEE&hl=en_US#gid=0
blackseabass More than 1 year ago
Meathead01, You know I'm not a pic-player normally but since Annie has been hitting so many pic-5s I figure it must be easier than I thought. LOL. Just kiddin' Annie . You know I have a lot of respect for your comprehensive approach to cappin' . You plan your work & work your plan. Anyway like I told MikeA last week DMR ain't my favorite track but I'll take a stab at filling in the pic-5 in Annie's place for a few bucks. Nothing major. I guess for .50 it makes it cheap to take a flyer. Race#1 #1 Eye on Jake > calls Escena mommy, obviously has had some problems but looks like a contender with these. # 4 Times Gone By > aptly named horse has seen better days. Mandella finally gave up and let him go. He's always had some talent to go with whatever his physical problems are. He likes it at the beach on turf or main. With 3 legs he can probably act for 40,000. He's faced the better ones. #7 Price > Zucker is not having a good year. He's slightly better than an 0fer trainer though. He isn't likely to stay 0fer all year. When he does pop one its usually between 5/10 -1. He's finished in front of Jake in a sprint. He's not impossible. Zucker has frustrated me winning with ones like this in the past. He's hard to pigeon hole even when he has stats that don't say 0.00. I actually wish Zucker wasn't in my race. That seems like a craZy thing to say about a guy thats 0fer this year but he's been around forever . He ain't an 0fer trainer. He's a sneaky Zucker. LOL. When he does win one his guys tend to whoop it up on the way to the windows. They tend to bet their bums on just the right days in my memory bank. #5 Big business . 3yr old has faced some decent horses. No disgrace to take some time breaking mdn vs those. He appears up against it here buttZ... the older ones all have their problems ? I'm usung 1/4 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Race #2 #2 Isle of Prado> can spring a surprise . He broke mdn vs straight mdns and probably has a hidden class advantage against these bums. Worth a shot at a price #1 One Nation > is not yet a completely proven loser. #5 Red Scare > tries open co. 1st time . Thats not the kiss of death for a cal-bred like it is in some other jurisdictions. There are actually cal-breds that can run. He's not a proven loser yet. #3 King Ledley has steadily worked his way down to this level . His weak connects and fact he's only hit the ex once in two years make him tough to want to bet although he does look like this is a rough fit for him. He's got a pile of dough in his bank earned a long time ago. I'm not even going to look up where and when because it was so long ago. I'm singling #2 IsleO'Prado the 12 -1-0-0 guy. My pic-5 will die or seperate me right here. _______________________________________________________________________________ Race #3 #1 Devour >is the logical favorite . He's the one to beat and he looks beatable to me. #4 Joey G. > is a curcuit switching class dropper . The drop may well be bigger than it appears and he's in a spot to spring a surpriZe . Wave him Bye- Bye ? #5 Stu's > got speed & Patrick could ruin things for Joe G . I'll be optomistic and say Joe's just faster . # 7 Eddie > would not be impossible for Oneal/Bejarano. This is a logical spot for him. #8 Classy Lion > Has won and was claimed at this level. Bacorn took him . Herb is not much of a trainer. He probably got tricked. He's not hopeless but I can skip him. #4 & #1 Joey & Devour ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Race #4 #1 Mia Isabel > Got bet 1st out . Given improvement the # might not be good enough if #10 gets improvement. Trainer is 0/9 with 2nd timers which is dismal given that Par is about 20%, of course he might be 1/10 after today. #10 Cha Cha Latte > Walsh has always been a tri /board trainer for me. she's 5/15 with 2nd timers and she produced a # that given improvement would make her tough to beat. She didn't get bet 1st out which means she's NOT a coin flip. She is however a contender. # 8 Sweet nothings > Got bet to favorite status first out. Showed speed and stopped . Holly is 19/68 with 2nd timers . She needs more than 5 lengths improvement to contend not impossible but not with my money. #7 Weemissfrankie > has a steady string of improving works topped by 3 goodies in a row. Eurton is not the best with 1sters but this one looks best of the 1sters. I wouldn't be surprised by a nice effort. Only one gate work. this might be just that. #3 Cavelletta > missed a work in the middle there but has 3 gates. Nothing spectacular in there but probably the 2nd best 1ster at the moment. #1 & #10 ________________________________________________________________________________ Race #5 #2 last Sting> Runs her race wherever she goes. Her race probably ain't gonna be good enough buttZ... it might be good enough to get in the mix underneath. # 6 Honey's PriZe > Kitchingman has always been one of my pets. His real niche is with mdn babies .Something of a poormans wes ward. He can probably take a mdn race this meet. If he doesn't he'll track switch them to the fair and pop. 120,000 is a high dollar horse for him . Turf is not his forte. The fact he's coming back turf with a horse that showed good 2yr old promise has me intrigued. Is he form darkening for later or is he trying to pull something off ? Thats the question. I'm inclined to believe he's form muddling but I won't leave him off. #8 Correspondent > is very logical . Bejarano got to know him last time. He should get a good stalking trip & have every chance to run them down. # 9 Born Lucky > Stretcher could throw a wrench in Carina's plans. GomeZ isn't much for pressing hard though so he might not push. If he doesn't then the fader #10 Simply Carina would have yet another good chance to get a victory. She calls Astra Mommy and it seems right that she should break her mdn eventually. Perhaps today. I'll go 3 deep with 6 ,8 ,10 thats 2x1x2x2x3 =$12 . IMO there are 23 horses that might win the 1st 5 races and I only have 10 . Pic-5s are hard . I don't know why people like to play them ???? On top of that my single is a little precarious. Thats why I avoid long horiZontals. DDs are one thing but beyond that they just make you wait to long to find out if you won. To much suspense for my taste. I'll play the $12 because my single might be the seperater in the sequence. I know a smart pic player that thought that would spread more in the other legs but I ain't smart enough to dump much into pic 5s. Since I'm in pic -mode though I'll play pic-3s 4x1x1 with Joe G singled in the 3rd & 1x1x5 in the second pic-3 . Thats it for pics. I think I might have one later that I like but I can't remember who right now. I'll go back to find out and put it up tomorrow. Singling IOP & JoeyG is slightly ambitious but I'll be betting both of them & if the board is right for them I might step it up. If either of them run 1st or 2nd I'll probably be making money tomorrow. I'm not recommending anyone take these pics seriously. I only put them up because Meathead specifically asked me too. My confidence level at DMR is slightly less than it is most places. Good luck to the formbloggers on opening day. Be glad you aren't going to be sardine canned in the place. It is possible to get shut out there when you are 2nd in line and there is 4 minutes to post on opening day. DMR on opening day is a line thing.15 minutes out is cutting it close.
meathead01 More than 1 year ago
blackseabass thanks for your picks today and annie is right that the pick five is easy to bet but winning it is the tough part an example on my P4 on sunday at hollywood had the first three and got beat by a $138 horse in the fourth my horse ran second I left the otb thinking I was going to hit the P4 and the P5 but to no avail can you believe $138 horse and yes I am redboarding I looked long and hard at the horse but could not put him on the ticket woo is me. one question bsb about the 2nd race you are strong on the #2 and dont mention #8 Battle at all any reason you dont like #8 Battle? just wondering bsb you dont have to respond I do respect your picks and Ill be using your #2 horse in my exotics good luck to you today in your wagers mh01
jim More than 1 year ago
Dan, Keep up the great work at DRF - your handicapping expertise in maiden races is top notch! Have you heard anything concerning the outcome of the recent surgery that Dialed In was having done to remove the bone chip in his right knee? Jim