06/05/2010 11:00PM

Switch holds off Blind Luck in Hollywood Oaks

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INGLEWOOD, Calif. - After narrow losses in three graded stakes in Southern California earlier this year, Switch finally reached the winner's circle in an important race in Sunday's $150,000 Hollywood Oaks at Hollywood Park, and in doing so upset division leader Blind Luck.

Switch ($7.40) held off a late run from Blind Luck to win the by 1 1/4 lengths for her first graded stakes win. Blind Luck, the 1-2 favorite, was making her first start since winning the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on April 30 and was after her fourth stakes win of the year.

The outcome was essentially decided on the backstretch when Switch was rated in third, two lengths behind Camille C, who set a comically slow pace of 25.30 and 50.11 seconds. At that point, Blind Luck was last in the field of five, trailing by six lengths.

When the field reached the end of the backstretch, trainer John Sadler thought Switch could win.

"I was surprised it went that slow," Sadler said. "She's really tactical."

Entering the stretch, Switch was second to Camille C and closing well, while Blind Luck was still last, trailing by 7 1/2 lengths. Though the margin was much closer at the wire, Switch always seemed in control through the stretch.

Switch "has a good turn of foot, and I thought we'd get first jump on" Blind Luck, Sadler said.

Ridden by Martin Garcia, Switch ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.52. Blind Luck finished three-quarters of a length in front of Camille C, who was followed by Antares World and Vision in Gold.

Jockey Rafael Bejarano rode Blind Luck and said after the race that he was worried on the backstretch that circumstances were unfolding against his filly.

"I tried to get her closer," Bejarano said. "After a half, I knew they were going slow. She had a good turn of foot in the stretch, but it wasn't enough."

Jerry Hollendorfer, who trains Blind Luck, said his filly had no excuses.

"We should have laid a little closer maybe," he said.

Switch races for Lee and Susan Searing's CRK Stable and has won 2 of 6 starts and $189,600. A Quiet American filly, Switch was third in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez and Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita during the winter, fourth in the Grade 2 Bonnie Miss Stakes at Gulfstream Park on March 30, and second in the Grade 3 Railbird Stakes here last month.

Switch was originally scheduled to be ridden by Joel Rosario but was replaced by Garcia at Saturday's scratch time. Rosario had a three-day suspension for a riding infraction begin Sunday. He rode the Belmont Stakes in New York on Saturday and then traveled to his native Dominican Republic for a brief vacation, Sadler said.