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Jul 15, 2011

Leading females highlight Del 'Cap


Stanton, DE (Sports Network) - The two top thoroughbreds in the nation and the defending race winner lead the field for Saturday's 74th running of the $750,000 Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park. The filly or mare that wins the race will gain automatic entry into this year's Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic on November 4 at Churchill Downs.

Five older female thoroughbreds have been entered including Havre de Grace and Blind Luck, who are first and second respectively in the National Thoroughbred Poll and 2010 Del 'Cap winner Life at Ten. Havre de Grace is the 4-5 morning- line favorite, Blind Luck is next at 7-5 and Life at Ten is 5-1.

This will be the sixth time Havre de Grace and Blind Luck will meet. Each filly has won twice with two seconds a piece. In last year's Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic won by Unrivaled Belle, Blind Luck was second and Havre de Grace third.

Owned by Fox Hill Farms, Havre de Grace will start from post three with Ramon Dominguez riding for trainer Larry Jones. The favorite is coming off a win in Delaware Park's Obeah Stakes after winning both the Azeri and Apple Blossom Handicap.

"Obviously being from Delaware and being the biggest race in Delaware, it is high, very high, on my list," said Fox Hill's Rick Porter. "We thought a few times we had some nice horses that might win it for us, but for some reason or another they just did not work out the way we had hoped. When I first gave Larry (Jones) the horse, I told him she might be the horse that could win the big one at Delaware. She is obviously one of the nicest looking horses I have ever had. As far as talent and accomplishments, I would put her right up there with Hard Spun. I hope she turns out to be the best horse I have ever had, and I have been fortunate enough to have some nice ones."

Havre de Grace has a career record of six wins, three seconds and two thirds from 11 starts with earnings of $1,371,175.

Trained by co-owner Jerry Hollendorfer, Blind Luck will be ridden by Garrett Gomez from the outside post.

"This filly usually gives a good effort every time," said Hollendorfer, who won the Del 'Cap with Hystericalady in 2008. "I think Larry Jones has done a remarkable job with Havre de Grace this year But do not forget, there will be more than two horses, so we are not counting anybody out. But hopefully, we can put on a good show for the fans."

The 2010 champion three-year-old filly, Blind Luck is on a two-race winning streak after beginning 2011 with three straight second-place finishes. She won the Vanity Handicap last month at Hollywood Park and she won for the first time this year at Churchill Downs in the La Troienne by a half-length over Unrivaled Belle.

She carries a career mark of 11 wins in 20 starts with earnings of $2,829,520.

Life at Ten, owned by Candy DeBartolo, has drawn the inside post and will have David Cohen in the saddle. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the six-year-old mare was fourth in last month's Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park and in May finished third at Pimlico in the DuPont Distaff.

The defending Del 'Cap champ has earned nearly $1.2 million in 20 starts with eight wins. Along with last year's victory, Pletcher won the Del 'Cap with Unbridled Belle in 2007, Fleet Indian in 2006 and Irving's Baby in 2001.

The two 20-1 longshots are Thundering Emilia who will start from post two and Love's Blush who has drawn post four.

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