08/18/2010 3:10PM

Devil May Care slight favorite over Blind Luck in Alabama

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Barbara D. Livingston
Devil May Care is the 7-5 morning-line favorite for Saturday's Alabama.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The match-up is set.

Devil May Care drew post 2 and was made the 7-5 morning-line favorite by New York Racing Association morning-line maker Eric Donovan, and Blind Luck was installed the 8-5 second choice and will break from post 4 for Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Alabama at Saratoga in which supremacy in the 3-year-old filly division is at stake. Acting Happy, Tizahit, Connie and Michael, and Havre de Grace were also entered.

Devil May Care is 3 for 5 this year with Grade 1 victories in the Mother Goose and Coaching Club American Oaks as well as the Grade 2 Bonnie Miss. Blind Luck is 4 for 6 in 2010 with Grade 1 wins in the Kentucky Oaks and Las Virgenes and Grade 2 wins in the Fantasy and Delaware Oaks.

The white-hot John Velazquez – who recorded his Saratoga meet-leading 30th win victory Wednesday’s opener – will ride Devil May Care while Joel Rosario – the leading rider at Del Mar who has never ridden at Saratoga – has the call on Blind Luck.

Trainer Todd Pletcher said earlier this week he believes Devil May Care has become more professional in the way she finishes her races, and Velazquez concurs with that theory.

“The blinkers have helped put her more focused on what she needs to do,” Velazquez said. “But I think she gets pretty strong the first part of the race.”

Velazquez said he’s okay with Devil May Care being strong in the early stages of the race “as long as she finishes the way she’s been finishing.”

Velazquez hopes to finish the meet as strong as he has started it. Velazquez has won seven stakes at this meeting, including the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks aboard Devil May Care and the Grade 1 Ruffian on Malibu Prayer. He also has four Grade 2 stakes wins.

“Great meet, horses are running really, really well,” Velazquez said. “It helps when you try to do something and they’re responding to the things you want to do.”

The only thing that has gone wrong for Velazquez at this meet was the Grade 1 Whitney, where he got beat a head on Quality Road by Blame.

“That’s the one that hurts the most,” Velazquez said. “It still bothers me. The more I look at it I thought I should have gotten away from the horses when I got away with the slow fractions and just kept his mind on running and kept busier.”

Velazquez has won three riding titles at Saratoga, but none since 2004.

“When I come here I always get it in mind that it’d be great to win it,” Velazquez said. “The most important thing is we do well. If we win it, it’d be a nice gift.”

Blind Luck arrived from Southern California on Tuesday afternoon and visited the main track for a jog on Wednesday morning. This is her fourth trip outside of California this year.

“She’s very calm. She doesn’t take very long to relax into a new place,” said Archie Cross, an assistant to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. “I’ve gone to four places with her and each time she gets more professional and a little bit wiser.”