06/26/2009 12:00AM

Blind Date steps up to graded ranks


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Maryland-based trainer Hamilton Smith had good success running Humoristic in Grade 3 filly and mare turf stakes in New Jersey from 2005-07.

She twice won the Violet at the Meadowlands and finished third in two editions of the Matchmaker at Monmouth Park.

"Jersey has treated us pretty good," Smith said.

Smith would like to build a new Garden State tradition with Blind Date, starting Saturday at Monmouth in the Grade 3, $150,000 Boiling Springs Stakes for 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

A homebred for William M. Backer, Blind Date is the most consistent filly in the race, having won 4 of 5. The lone defeat was a rallying third in the Maryland Millions Lassie in October at Laurel.

She switched to the grass this year and kept right on winning. Blind Date swept a pair of minor stakes at Pimlico and now takes her first swing in a graded stakes.

"She should be able to run well with that group of horses," Smith said. "She won the two turf races down here fairly easily, wasn't abused in either one of them. We think she's capable of stepping up."

Blind Date has been training strongly since her 2 3/4-length win in the Hilltop Stakes on May 15, turning in three bullet works at Laurel.

"She looks like she's coming into the race fine," Smith said. "She's been working steady, and we think we are ready."

Jeremy Rose, the pilot for both wins this year, will again be aboard.

The Little Silver Stakes here Mayo24 produced three runners for the Boiling Springs: Platinum Girl, the front-running winner for trainer Todd Pletcher; My Magic Moment, third; and Sandi's Ready, fourth.

Bluegrass Princess faced a tougher assignment last time, finishing third on the yielding turf at Belmont Park in Grade 2 Sands Point Stakes.

Eddie Castro rides Bluegrass Princess for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.

Obsequious gave trainer Elizabeth Gray her first victory last year when the former assistant to Dale Romans went out on her own. Most recently, Obsequious was sixth, beaten 1 3/4 lengths in the American 1000 Guineas at Arlington Park.

"We were happy with the race," Gray said. "It's tough to go all that way and get beat less than two lengths, but she came out of it good."

Completing the field are Mary's Follies and Kiawah Cat, who also was entered in an overnight stakes at Belmont on Friday.