08/16/2010 3:19PM

Blind Luck ready to hit the road again for Saratoga's Alabama


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – After having her final breeze Monday morning at Del Mar, Kentucky Oaks winner Blind Luck was set to arrive Tuesday in Saratoga, where she is to have a showdown with the East Coast’s leading 3-year-old filly Devil May Care in Saturday’s $500,000 Alabama Stakes.

On Monday, Blind Luck worked four furlongs in 49 seconds at Del Mar, an easy move that trainer Jerry Hollendorfer termed a maintenance breeze.

Blind Luck will be shipping out of her California base for the fourth time this year. In April, she won the Grade 2 Fantasy at Oaklawn. After returning to California, she shipped to Kentucky, where she won the Oaks by a nose over Evening Jewel. Following a second-place finish in the Hollywood Oaks in June, Blind Luck shipped to Delaware Park, where she won the Delaware Oaks by a nose over Havre de Grace in July.

“It doesn’t seem to bother her,” Hollendorfer said of the shipping, adding that he chose not to come all the way across the country for the Mother Goose at Belmont Park because “I didn’t want to ship her too many times. She took that shipping to Delaware just fine. Then the track was off and she handled that fine. When she got off the van from the plane after that she was bouncing. It doesn’t affect her as much as it affects me.”

Hollendorfer said he doesn’t view the Alabama as a two-horse race between his filly and Devil May Care.

“I don’t think Todd Pletcher is going to look at it like that,” Hollendorfer said, referring to the trainer of Devil May Care. “I’m not going to look at it like that. Tony Dutrow has a nice filly [Havre de Grace]. Probably one of the key questions is can all of these fillies got the mile and a quarter?”

A field of six is expected for the Alabama. In addition to Blind Luck and Devil May Care, others likely to be entered Wednesday morning are Havre de Grace, Connie and Michael, Actin Happy, and Tizahit.

On Monday, Actin Happy worked five furlongs in 1:02.64 in company with Eminent Tale over Saratoga’s main track. Connie and Michael went five furlongs in 1:01.05 over the Oklahoma training track.

Mine That Bird works in blinkers

From the day Mine That Bird returned to the track after he finished fifth in the Whitney Handicap, trainer D. Wayne Lukas has been training the gelding in blinkers. Monday, Mine that Bird, equipped with those blinkers, worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 over the Oklahoma training track, the fastest of 11 works at the distance.

Calvin Borel was aboard the work, during which track clockers caught Mine That Bird’s last quarter in 23.40 seconds.

“We put some blinkers on him and gave him a little wake-up call at the head of the stretch,” said Lukas, referring to a right-handed stick from Borel. “Calvin thought with the blinkers he was much more focused. Usually, blinkers do that; I’m a big advocate of blinkers.”

Lukas said Mine That Bird would likely make his next start in the Woodward here on Sept. 4.

Dublin pointed to 4-year-old campaign

Lukas said Dublin, last year’s Hopeful winner, is still recovering from surgery to have an ankle chip removed, but could resume tack-walking by the end of the month.

Lukas said the chip was discovered during a routine physical a short while after Dublin finished fifth in the Preakness. Prior to that, Dublin ran seventh in the Kentucky Derby.

Lukas said Dublin, who is stabled in Saratoga, is scheduled to get re-examined on Aug. 28 and if he gets a clean bill of health, then he could start walking under tack the next day.

While Lukas said it is possible Dublin could return to the races later this year, he said more likely he would wait until the colt’s 4-year-old season to run him with an eye on races such as the Hal’s Hope and/or Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

Position Limit may wait for Frizette

With the New York Racing Association eliminating the Matron Stakes at Belmont from its stakes schedule, Position Limit, the five-length winner of Sunday’s Grade 2 Adirondack Stakes, may wait to run again until the Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont on Oct. 9.

“Calendar-wise it’s a little bit frustrating with the Matron not being there,” Pletcher said of the race formerly run in mid-September. “Ideally we’d run her back around that time and have a little extra spacing to the Breeders’ Cup. My gut reaction would be to wait for the Frizette and hopefully that sets her up for the Breeders’ Cup.”

Position Limit, a daughter of Bellamy Road owned by Starlight Partners, made it 2 for 2 with a powerful performance in the Adirondack. Despite losing her left front shoe, she pulled away from Alienation in midstretch to win by five lengths, covering 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:17.30 and earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 90.

“She’s run two very impressive performances,” Pletcher said. “She gives us every indication that she’s only going to improve with more distance. She’s bred to go longer. She’s a big, scopy, strong filly, we strongly expect to improve.”

Canada or Belmont next for Telling

Telling, who on Saturday won the Grade 1 Sword Dancer for the second straight year, returned to his Delaware Park base in good order, trainer Steve Hobby said. Hobby added that Telling would be considered for either the Northern Dancer at Woodbine on Sept. 19 or the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont on Oct. 2.

“We didn’t plan on anything past that,” Hobby said, referring to the Sword Dancer. “Everything hinged on what was going to happen in that race.”

Last year, Telling finished third in the Joe Hirsch, behind Interpatation and Gio Ponti in a race run over a boggy turf course created by pouring rain in the middle of the card.

Alcohol testing starting

Beginning Wednesday, the New York Racing Association will begin random alcohol testing of its jockey colony.

Though NYRA officials say they have been discussing this for months, the move comes six weeks after jockey Kent Desormeaux failed a breathalyzer test at Woodbine Race Course – where alcohol testing is done daily – forcing him to miss the mount on Hold Me Back, who won the $200,000 Dominion Day Handicap on July 1.

“That was part of it,” said P.J. Campo, NYRA vice-president/director of racing. “But we were discussing it even before that.”

NYRA has purchased two breathalyzer machines and those jockeys who blow a level of 0.04 or greater will be forced to be taken off their mounts for the day. No other penalties will be assessed, Campo said.

“The horsemen and us have been talking about it for a long time,” Campo said. “From a safety point of view, it’s the right thing to do.”

Campo said the testing will be random and will not occur daily.

John Velazquez, a veteran rider and president of the Jockeys’ Guild, said the riders were all supportive of the testing.

“We think it’s a good thing for everybody,” he said. “We have no problem with it. We have nothing to hide.”

While the jockeys will be the first to undergo breathalyzer tests, it is expected that other racing officials will have to do the same beginning at a later date.

◗ Pleasant Prince, the Ohio Derby winner, worked four furlongs in 51 seconds over Saratoga’s main track on Monday. He is under consideration of the Travers Stakes, though owner Ken Ramsey said he is also considering the $300,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at Philadelphia Park on Sept. 6.