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Mar 18, 2011

Havre de Grace and Blind Luck to renew rivalry


Hot Springs, AR (Sports Network) - Arguably the leading rivalry in thoroughbred racing is between four-year-old fillies Havre de Grace and Blind Luck. The two females will renew their war on Saturday in the $150,000 Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

The two fillies have faced each other four times with Blind Luck getting the best of Havre de Grace in three meetings, including two outright wins. Blind Luck won last year's Delaware Oaks and Alabama, while Havre de Grace took the Cotillion Stakes. Their last meeting was in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic in which Blind Luck finished second and Havre de Grace third to Unrivaled Belle.

Blind Luck, trained by co-owner Jerry Hollendorfer, was voted 2010 champion three-year-old filly over her nemesis.

The 1 1/16-mile race has attracted a field of seven females with Fox Hill Farm's Havre de Grace starting from post four and Blind Luck from the outside post.

Havre de Grace will get the services of Ramon Dominguez for her 2011 debut. Trained by Larry Jones, the filly has won three of eight career starts for $873,175 and has never been worse than third.

"She left no doubt she's ready after she did what she did to Payton d'Oro," said Jones of Havre de Grace's recent five-furlong workout in 59 2/5. "We sent them together, but 'Grace' pretty much said she didn't need any company to go with her and she did it awfully easily. She showed she is very talented. We wouldn't want to come out of that race with a gut-wrencher, but she stamped herself and said 'don't mess with me.'"

Champion filly Blind Luck has banked nearly $2.5 million in her 17 lifetime starts. Last April she won Oaklawn's Fantasy Stakes and four weeks later captured the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.

This year Blind Luck was second in both the El Encino and La Canada Stakes to Always a Princess. Garrett Gomez has the riding assignment for Saturday.

The Azeri has a scheduled post-time of 6:02 p.m. (et), approximately 30 minutes before the Rebel Stakes for three-year-olds.

Here is the full field for the Azeri Stakes in post position order: Tidal Pool, Terry Thompson; Kimber Lily, Gabriel Saez; Shotgun Gulch, Luis Quinonez; Havre de Grace, Ramon Dominguez; Spacy Tracy, Jeremy Rose; Absinthe Minded, Calvin Borel and Blind Luck, Garrett Gomez.

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