06/14/2011 2:42PM

Hollywood Park: Blind Luck seeks to reclaim throne

Barbara D. Livingston
Blind Luck is being pointed for the Delaware Handicap and a meeting with Havre de Grace.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – The first few months of 2011 did not go to expectation for Blind Luck, the champion 3-year-old filly of 2010.

There were more losses – three – than wins – one. Along the way, she lost her status as division leader to Havre de Grace, a finalist for the Eclipse Award for 3-year-old filly of 2010. But over the next five weeks, Blind Luck has a chance to regain the top spot.

Saturday, Blind Luck will be favored to win the $250,000 Vanity Handicap, the championship race for older females at the Hollywood Park spring-summer meeting. Trainer and co-owner Jerry Hollenorfer sees the Grade 1 Vanity as a prep for the $750,000 Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park on July 16, a race expected to include Havre de Grace.

“I’ll have to meet up with Havre de Grace,” Hollendorfer said over the weekend. “We didn’t duck anyone last year, and we won’t this year.”

Blind Luck, the 123-pound topweight in the Vanity, has won 10 of 19 starts and $2,679,520. She won her last start, the Grade 2 La Troienne Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 6, overcoming a stumble at start to win by a half-length over Unrivaled Belle, the winner of the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic.

Blind Luck was second in the Ladies’ Classic, with Havre de Grace third. Despite the runner-up finish, Blind Luck accomplished enough in 2010 – five graded stakes wins in nine starts – to secure the Eclipse Award.

But the loss in the Breeders’ Cup was the second of five consecutive runner-up finishes for Blind Luck, the longest losing streak of her career. In her first two starts this year, she was beaten by Always a Princess in the El Encino and La Canada stakes at Santa Anita and by Havre de Grace in the Grade 3 Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn Park in March.

Hollendorfer said that he and the other owners – Mark DeDomenico, John Carver, and Peter Abruzzo – remained upbeat about Blind Luck’s long-term prospects in the early months of this year.

“We’ve always loved her,” he said. “We couldn’t find anything wrong with her. She had the same attitude, and we never gave up on her for one minute.

“We always thought it was circumstances that were beating her. Probably the tracks weren’t in her favor. For her to deal with that, there is no point in saying that over and over again.”

Hollendorfer considered the Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park in April for Blind Luck, a race that Havre de Grace won, but opted for additional time between starts for the La Troienne. After the La Troeinne, the Vanity became an early-summer goal. The race will provide a stern test, with the lineup expected to include Miss Match, the winner of the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Invitational at Santa Anita in March; St Trinians, the winner of the 2010 Santa Maria Handicap at Santa Anita who was disqualified from first and placed fourth for causing interference in the Grade 2 Milady Handicap at Hollywood Park on May 21; and Switch, the winner of the Grade 1 Santa Monica Stakes at Santa Anita in January.

The Vanity will be Blind Luck’s fourth start over 1 1/8 miles. She won over the distance in the Kentucky Oaks in May 2010 and was second in the La Canada Stakes in addition to the BC Ladies’ Classic.

The Vanity will lead to a start in the Delaware Handicap against Havre de Grace, who won the Grade 3 Obeah Handicap there on June 11 to remain unbeaten in three starts this year. The Delaware Handicap would be the sixth meeting between Blind Luck and Havre de Grace. Blind Luck has finished in front of Havre de Grace three times.

Hollendorfer, who will be inducted into racing’s Hall of Fame this summer, is anxious to see Blind Luck’s performance in the Vanity, the day of his 65th birthday.

“I don’t like to wave flags, but she’s doing amazing,” Hollenderfer said. "She’s put on some weight and kept it on, even during the campaign. Her coat looks good. She has the same old attitude.”