01/06/2011 6:10PM

2010 Eclipse Awards: Blind Luck

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Tom Keyser

Starting with her first race at 3, Blind Luck showed what a thrilling year it would be. She rallied from last to win the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb. 13 by a nose, setting the stage for a season full of heart-stopping finishes.

None of the nine races that Blind Luck ran in 2010 for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer was more dramatic than the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on April 30 at Churchill Downs. With Rafael Bejarano aboard, the filly circled the field on the far turn after being last of 14 for much of the way, and only in the final jump was she able to nudge past Evening Jewel for the victory.

“Did we get it?” Hollendorfer asked in the frantic moments afterward. After watching the replay a couple of times, he cautiously said, “I think we got it.”

All that Oaks excitement was the year in microcosm for Blind Luck, a filly who was purchased for a mere $11,000 as a yearling. She was in photo finishes in three subsequent races, winning the Grade 2 Delaware Oaks by a nose and capturing the Grade 1 Alabama by a neck before being beaten a neck in the Grade 2 Cotillion.

Hollendorfer, in partnership with Mark Dedomenico, John Carver, and Peter Abruzzo, bought Blind Luck privately after the filly won her career debut in June 2009 at Calder. She soon emerged as one of the top 2-year-olds of her generation, winning the Grade 1 Oak Leaf at Santa Anita before finishing a close third in her season finale, the Grade 1 Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Briefly freshened by Hollendorfer, the filly was the 1-5 favorite for the Las Virgenes when she closed with a flourish to nip Evening Jewel. In her next race, the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks, Blind Luck found quite a bit of traffic trouble and got loose too late, finishing third as the 1-2 favorite. She then won the Grade 2 Fantasy at Oaklawn Park with relative comfort, prevailing by 2 1/2 lengths in a field of four.

Sent away the 13-10 favorite in the 136th Kentucky Oaks, Blind Luck once again had Evening Jewel to pass in the shadow of the wire. Her winning margin was no more than an inch.

“My filly, she always fights,” Bejarano said afterward.

Returned to California shortly after the Oaks, Blind Luck made her return to action five weeks later in the Hollywood Oaks, finishing second to Switch as the 1-2 favorite. She then returned east to take the July 10 Delaware Oaks by a nose over Havre de Grace, rallying from last in a field of seven to prevail as the 1-5 favorite. She narrowly defeated Havre de Grace again in the Aug. 21 Alabama at Saratoga, but then that rival turned the tables in the Oct. 2 Cotillion at Parx Racing in Philadelphia.

Impressed by the class and consistency that Blind Luck had shown throughout the year, Breeders’ Cup fans made her the 3-2 favorite when she faced older fillies and mares for the first time in the Nov. 5 BC Ladies’ Classic at Churchill Downs. Tenth of 11 for much of the way, the filly put in her patented late run in passing them all except for the victorious Unrivaled Belle.

Blind Luck is by Pollard’s Vision out of Lucky One, by Best Luck. She was bred in Kentucky by the Fairlawn Farm of William and Terry Baker. She was ridden by Bejarano in her first five races of 2010 before Joel Rosario became her jockey for her last four starts, ending with the Breeders’ Cup. She earned $1,679,662 on the year.

Blind Luck has remained in training at Hollywood Park.

PAST PERFORMANCES: Blind Luck's 2010 season PPs (PDF)

KEY RACE REPLAY: Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs >>