12/20/2009 12:00AM

Blind Luck faces test in Grade 1 Starlet

Barbara D. Livingston
Blind Luck will try to build on her third-place finish in the BC Juvenile Fillies in the Starlet.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Before Blind Luck made her California debut in late July, jockey Rafael Bejarano worked her several times for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, always giving positive reports.

A facial injury suffered in a gruesome spill at Del Mar on July 22 cost Bejarano the mount on Blind Luck through the summer and fall, the period during which she won the Grade 1 Oak Leaf Stakes and finished third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Bejarano and Blind Luck will finally be matched in a race in Sunday's $405,250 Hollywood Starlet at Hollywood Park as he regains the mount from Tyler Baze who is recovering from hand surgery.

The Starlet, which is run over 1 1/16 miles, will be a stern test for Blind Luck. The field includes BC Juvenile Fillies runner-up Beautician; Bickersons, who was third in the Oak Leaf; and Rose Catherine, who was second in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf.

The Grade 1 Starlet is the feature race on the final day of the Hollywood Park fall meeting. There is no racing in Southern California from Monday through Friday before Santa Anita opens its winter-spring meeting Saturday.

Beautician and Blind Luck were beaten three-quarters of a length by She Be Wild in the BC Juvenile Fillies. There was only a head between Beautician and Blind Luck for second and third. The people behind both fillies thought they might have won with a better trip.

Blind Luck, for example, was steadied on the first turn.

"With a little different luck, I think we could have turned the tables," Jerry Hollendorfer's assistant trainer Dan Ward said of Blind Luck.

Beautician rallied from eighth to get within a half-length of the lead at the eighth pole but could not close the gap. It turned out she was running on three shoes, said Jordan Blair, trainer Kenneth McPeek's assistant trainer in California. Blair said that Beautician lost a hind shoe at the start of the backstretch.

The Starlet will be Beautician's fourth consecutive start in a Grade 1. She will be fitted with blinkers for the first time.

"I think it will help her focus," Blair said.

Owned by Peter Callahan, Beautician has 1 win in 5 starts, a maiden race at Churchill Downs. She was later second in the Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes at Saratoga and a troubled fifth in the Grade 1 Alcibiades at Keeneland before the BC Juvenile Fillies.

Bickersons did not run as well in the BC Juvenile Fillies, finishing 10th. She rebounded to win the seven-furlong Moccasin Stakes here Nov. 22 over Miss Heather Lee and It Tiz, who are both entered in the Starlet.

Amen Hallelujah and Rose Catherine are seeking their first stakes wins. Amen Hallelujah, trained by Rick Dutrow, was third after a wide trip in the Alcibiades, her first start since being acquired by IEAH Stables and turned over to Dutrow. She was held out of the BC Juvenile Fillies because of a minor ankle injury in late October, Dutrow said at the time.

Rose Catherine is making her first start on a synthetic track in the Starlet. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Rose Catherine lost two sprints on dirt in New York during the summer and won a maiden race on turf at Belmont Park in mid-October. In the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf, Rose Catherine set the pace and was beaten a half-length by Tapitsfly.

Rose Catherine is likely to play a pivotal role in the Starlet. Along with Bickersons, she is expected to set the pace. If left alone, she could be a factor at the finish as proven in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. Otherwise, a fast pace could lead to a stretch duel between Blind Luck and Beautician.


:: KLEIN: (DRF Plus)