08/21/2010 6:25PM

Blind Luck takes control of division in Alabama

Tom Keyser
Blind Luck (left) takes the lead in the stretch of Saturday's Alabama.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - The road warrior did it again. And now Blind Luck is in the driver’s seat in the 3-year-old filly division.

Once again forced to rally from last behind slow fractions, Blind Luck came five wide in the stretch, blew past favored Devil May Care outside the three-sixteenths pole, then collared Havre de Grace in deep stretch and outfinished her to the wire to win the $500,000 Alabama Stakes by a neck at Saratoga.

Havre de Grace held second by 1 3/4 lengths over Acting Happy, the early pacesetter. It was another 2 3/4 lengths back to Devil May Care, the 3-4 favorite who failed to fire. Tizahit and Connie and Michael completed the order of finish.

The Alabama was the third Grade 1 victory of the year for the California-based Blind Luck, who also took the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs and the Las Virgenes at Santa Anita. Blind Luck also owns Grade 2 victories in the Fantasy at Oaklawn and Delaware Oaks at Delaware Park.
The win firmly plants Blind Luck atop the 3-year-old filly division heading into the fall.

“I’d like to think that we’re the best,” said trainer and part-owner Jerry Hollendorfer, who won his first race in Saratoga with just his third starter. “There are more races to come this year.”

The Alabama was viewed as the prototypical East-West showdown. But the New York-based Devil May Care, who won the Mother Goose and the Coaching Club American Oaks in her last two starts, did not hold up her end of the bargain. Sitting in fifth position under John Velazquez, Devil May Care made a four-wide sweep around the far turn to get into contention at the quarter pole. But turning for home, Devil May Care, trained by Todd Pletcher for Glencrest Farm, came up empty.

“Perfect position, she just didn’t come with a run,” said Velazquez, who won five races on Saturday’s card. “I was where I wanted to be and I thought I’m going to obligate [Blind Luck] to get outside of me and I got out at the three-eighths pole and she just didn’t come up with anything. Very strange.”

Meanwhile, Rosario was content to keep Blind Luck in last while Acting Happy set fractions of 24.03 seconds, 49.45, and 1:14.81 for six furlongs being chased by Tizahit and Connie and Michael.

When Velazquez moved Devil May Care, Rosario moved Blind Luck. She went five wide and had plenty left to run down Havre de Grace, the same filly she beat by a nose in the final jump in the Delaware Oaks.

“I kind of warned Joel that Johnny was going to try and open up at the head of the lane and so I think he was watching for that a little bit,” said Hollendorfer, who despite recording his 5,725th career victory is not in the Hall of Fame. “We had a perfect position down the backside even though they went slow. The rider did a great job.”

Blind Luck, a daughter of Pollard’s Vision who is also owned by Mark Dedomenico, John Carver and Peter Abruzzo, covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:03.89 and returned $5.60 as the second choice.

“They weren’t going that fast early, I got in a good position not too far back,” Rosario said. “Turning for home I knew I had a lot of horse.”

Tony Dutrow, the trainer of Havre de Grace, said his filly ran her race.

“Things went fantastic for us and our filly stepped up to the plate and proved to everyone what she’s capable of and Blind Luck is so, so special,” Dutrow said.

Blind Luck will return to Southern California the next few days but may ship back East for the $750,000 Cotillion at Philadelphia Park on Oct. 2, Hollendorfer said.

* Overshadowed by the Alabama and the five-win day by Velazquez, trainer Linda Rice won three races on the card and moved into second place in the trainer standings with 14 victories, six behind Pletcher and one ahead of Chad Brown.