Updated on 06/21/2011 3:47PM

Hollywood Park: Blind Luck could run in Clement Hirsch or Delaware Handicap

Benoit & Associates
Blind Luck may remain in California for the Clement Hirsch at Del Mar rather than ship east for the July 16 Delaware Handicap.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Blind Luck may make her next start at Del Mar, in the $300,000 Clement Hirsch Stakes on Aug. 6, but trainer Jerry Hollendorfer has not ruled out a cross-country trip to meet division leader Havre de Grace in the $750,000 Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park on July 16.

The champion 3-year-old filly of 2010, Blind Luck won her second consecutive stakes in the Grade 1 Vanity Handicap at Hollywood Park last Saturday.

With Havre de Grace unbeaten in three starts this year, including the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Invitational at Oaklawn Park in April, a start between the nation’s two leading females is one of the most highly-anticipated matchups of the summer. They have met once this year, with Havre de Grace beating Blind Luck in the Grade 3 Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn Park in March.

The Grade 2 Delaware Handicap is run over 1 1/4 miles, while the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch Stakes is a weight-for-age race and is run over 1 1/16 miles. Hollendorfer said he is likely to make a decision in early July.

“The Delaware race is an important race,” he said. “I’d have to be fairly weighted to go there. I’m not afraid to wait.”

Hollendorfer said if Blind Luck started in the Hirsch Stakes that she could run later that month in the $300,000 Personal Ensign Stakes over 1 1-4 miles at Saratoga on Aug. 28. “We’d be looking at that, too,” he said.

The Vanity was Blind Luck’s sixth Grade 1 win and first since the Alabama Stakes at Saratoga last August. She has won 11 of 20 starts and $2,829,520 for the partnership of Hollendorfer, Peter Abruzzo, John Carver, and Mark DeDomenico. The win came on Hollendorfer’s 65th birthday. Later this summer, he will be inducted into racing’s Hall of Fame at Saratoga.

Regardless of where Blind Luck starts, Hollendorfer wants Garrett Gomez aboard. Gomez rode Blind Luck for the third time in the Vanity, having been aboard for the loss in the Azeri and a win in the Grade 2 La Troienne Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 6.

The Vanity was run over 1 1/8 miles and Blind Luck was last of six until the final furlong, when she rallied wide into a slow pace to swoop to the lead in the final sixteenth and win by a half-length.

“I think Garrett is getting to know her pretty well,” Hollendorfer said. “I’m glad he’s riding her.”

Big Tiz’s chances for stakes win improve

Big Tiz has yet to win a stakes race in three career attempts, and the two fillies who foiled those hopes – May Day Rose and Turbulent Descent – are not part of the expected runners in Saturday’s $150,000 Hollywood Oaks.

May Day Rose, who won the Grade 3 Railbird Stakes at Hollywood Park last month, is likely to pass the race, trainer Bob Baffert said. Turbulent Descent was second in the Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park earlier this month, and may make her next start in New York later this summer.

Big Tiz was second to May Day Rose in the Railbird. The Hollywood Oaks will be Big Tiz’s first start at 1 1/16 miles since a second to Turbulent Descent in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet last December.

The absence of those two filliles, and Big Tiz’s recent training, has left trainer Mark Glatt eager for the race.

“We’re feeling pretty good about our chances right now,” he said on Tuesday.

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela has the mount on Big Tiz. Glatt said it is vital that Valenzuela coax patience out of Big Tiz in the first half of the race.

“Getting this filly to relax early in her races has always been our biggest problem,” he said. “I think we can get her to relax, she can lay comfortably behind other speed or make the lead comfortable.

“It’s always been a bit of a struggle with her. She’s relaxes pretty well in the morning. She’s a big long-striding filly and a good workhorse. I think she’s going into it right.”

Rumor, who will make her stakes debut, is likely to set the pace. The threat from the back of the field will be the favorite, Zazu, who finished third in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 6.

Glatt admits a stakes win would be a welcome occasion for his stable. Through Sunday, Glatt had 2 wins from 30 starters, with 4 seconds and 6 third-place finishes, at the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting.

“The vast majority have run well, but not good enough to win,” he said. “It’s been a tough meet that way.”

◗ Awesome Gem, the 8-year-old gelding who won the Grade 3 Lone Star Park Handicap on May 30, breezed a half-mile in 50.20 seconds on Tuesday, preparing for a a start in Saturday's Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows.