04/30/2010 11:00PM

Blind Luck earns a break


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Blind Luck may get a brief rest before resuming her 3-year-old campaign a bit later this spring or summer, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said the morning after the filly posted a dramatic nose victory over Evening Jewel in the on Friday at Churchill Downs.

Blind Luck was scheduled to leave Louisville on Sunday, "or at least no later than Monday," on a charter flight to Southern California, said Hollendorfer. "The filly came out of the race very well," he said. "I haven't picked anything out for her, and I'd like to take a while to decide, maybe make a new little plan for her. We'll take her back to Hollywood Park and resume her training there."

Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Blind Luck rallied from last in a field of 14 3-year-old fillies to prevail by maybe an inch over Evening Jewel, ridden by Kent Desormeaux and trained by Southern California-based Jim Cassidy.

"When I watched the replay, I thought we might've won," Hollendorfer said. "This morning I feel lucky to be right, very fortunate, very happy. The result was good for all of our concerns."

Predictably, the result was excruciating for Cassidy, a 64-year-old New York City native who has been training since 1989.

"Oh man, that was tough," he said. "Everyone around us today thought she had won; we did, too. I knew we did. Toughest beat of my career, no question."

This was the third Oaks win for Hollendorfer, the fourth-winningest trainer in North American racing history with more than 5,000 victories. He previously won with Lite Light (1991) and Pike Place Dancer (1996).

* Besides an ontrack attendance record of 116,046 being set for Oaks Day, handle also was up substantially over 2009 figures. All-sources wagering on the 12-race card was $36 million, up 20 percent over last year, while all-sources wagering on the Oaks was $10.6 million, up 55 percent over the 2009 Oaks, which was won by the heavy favorite Rachel Alexandra in a short field.

The Oaks crowd easily surpassed the previous record of 111,243 set in 2005.

"We are very pleased by the overwhelming response of our fans," track president Kevin Flanery said in a media release.

Except for Oaks, Derby, and Breeders' Cup dates, racetracks under the Churchill Downs Inc. umbrella typically have not released attendance and handle figures for several years.