SOUTH / OAKS FUTURE FAVORITE BLIND LUCK TRIES DIRT IN FANTASY – Blind Luck, the filly that was favored in Churchill Downs’ 2010 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager has two things to prove as she faces a small field of three rivals in Friday’s $300,000 Fantasy Stakes (GIII) at Oaklawn Park.
For one, trainer and co-owner Jerry Hollendorfer hopes the Southern California-based daughter of Pollard’s Vision will bounce back strongly from a rare loss suffered in a third-place finish behind Crisp in the Santa Anita Oaks (Grade 1). But Hollendorfer will also pay very close attention to how his filly handles the Oaklawn Park track as her Fantasy run marks a rare appearance for Blind Luck on traditional dirt. That’s the type of surface Blind Luck will see at Churchill Downs when she purses her primary goal: the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (GI) on Friday, April 30.
Blind Luck last ran on dirt when she won her career debut at Florida’s Calder Race Course last June, and has raced exclusively over synthetic tracks in California since. She has won five of eight races with a second and two thirds to her credit. Three of her victories have come in Grade I stakes races and her career earnings have reached $889.050.
This was the best race on the dirt to try her at," Hollendorfer told Daily Racing Form. "I want to get on the dirt now and see how we do there."
Regular jockey Rafael Bejarano will be in the saddle aboard Blind Luck.
Although the Fantasy field is small, Blind Luck will meet one of the few fillies to finish in front of her in Santa Anita Oaks runner-up All Due Respect. Garrett Gomez will ride the daughter of Value Plus for veteran trainer Kathy Walsh. Rounding out the Fantasy field are Brereton Jones’ homebred No Such Word, winner of the Honeybee (GIII) at Oaklawn Park for trainer Cindy Jones, and the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Tidal Pool, an eight-length winner in a recent allowance race for owner Westrock Stables.
Horse of the Year and 3-year-old filly champion Rachel Alexandra won the 2009 Fantasy.
KENTUCKY / NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPS MEET IN ASHLAND AS KEENELAND OPENS – Keeneland Race Course opens its spring meet on Saturday with a showdown of champions in the 73rd running of the $500,000-added Central Bank Ashland Stakes (GI) at 1 1/16 miles over synthetic Polytrack.
Nancy Mazzoni’s She Be Wild, America’s champion 2-year-old filly of 2009 and winner of the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI), will have a rematch with Negligee, who tied with Biofuel for the Sovereign Award that honored last year’s Canadian 2-year-old filly champion.
The champions met last fall at Keeneland when Negligee downed She Be Wild in the Darley Alcibiades (GI), but the Canadian filly was sixth to the U.S. champ in the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita.
Another Ashland contender in the field of eight fillies is the Ken McPeek-trained Beautician, the runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup race who finished second in Oaklawn’s Honeybee in her 2010 debut.
WEST / CRISP WORKS FOR KENTUCKY OAKS BID – Santa Anita Oaks and Santa Ysabel (GIII) winner Crisp worked a sharp five furlongs in 1:00.20 over the synthetic surface at Hollywood Park on Thursday in preparation for a planned bid for the April 30 Kentucky Oaks.
The move by trainer John Sadler’s filly was the fastest of 11 at the distance.