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Jul 22, 2011

Blind Luck finds victory in Del 'Cap



Stanton, DE (Sports Network) - Champion filly Blind Luck got the best of her main rival Saturday to win the 74th running of the $750,000 Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park. It is the second straight year the filly won a stakes at the historic track.

Blind Luck, who won the Delaware Oaks last year, was taking on Havre de Grace for the sixth time. Coming into Saturday's meeting each filly had 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.

Havre de Grace, ridden by Ramon Dominguez, was the 7-10 favorite in the five horse field with Blind Luck at 11-10 and defending race winner Life At Ten going off at 6-1.

Life At Ten, with David Cohen riding, stumbled at the start but recovered to take the lead the first time the field went under the wire. Running second was 36-1 longshot Thundering Emilia followed by Havre de Grace, 55-1 outsider Love's Blush and Blind Luck.

Life At Ten set the pace up the backstretch closely followed by Thundering Emilia and the favorite. Blind Luck, ridden by Garrett Gomez, moved into fourth on the backstretch.

As the field entered the far turn Havre de Grace and Blind Luck both began to move on the outside. The favorite took the lead on the final turn as the second choice advanced into second.

Havre de Grace had the lead at top of the stretch with Blind Luck moving forward. The two fillies hooked up with less than a furlong to run and battled to the finish.

The favorite had a slight lead yards before the wire, but Blind Luck was able to get her nose in front and post her third win over Havre de Grace. Life At Ten finished third, more than 18-lengths behind the top two, followed by Love's Blush and Thundering Emilia.

"This is a total grudge match," said Gomez. "These two fillies butt heads and when they get together it is a grudge match, so they got a good little rivalry going. They are both nice fillies and they both ran tremendous races. I think this is really cool for the sport."

Blind Luck covered the 1 1/4-miles in 2:01.28 on a fast track. It's the second fastest Del 'Cap in the last 20 years. In 2007 Unbridled Belle stopped the timer at 2:01.16

The victory assures Blind Luck an automatic entry into this year's Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic on November 4 at Churchill Downs.

Trained by co-owner Jerry Hollendorfer, Blind Luck becomes the first Delaware Oaks winner to return and capture the Del 'Cap since Parlo turned the trick in 1955.

"I always have confidence that I think she is going to do it," said Hollendorfer. "There are always moments in the race when you do not know, but once they hit the far turn, I thought there was a good chance she would win. I do not think you can be surprised and we have the up most respect for Larry Jones and his filly. We have hooked up six times and each time it has been exciting. We have come out well a couple times and we have been beaten a couple of times, but that is okay because it is not supposed to be easy."

Hollendorfer and Gomez combined to win the Del 'Cap with Hystericalady in 2008.

The four-year-old filly picks up $450,000 with the win to increase her career earnings to nearly $3.3 million. She has won 12 of 21 lifetime starts, including this year's La Troienne and Vanity Handicap.

The 2010 Eclipse Award winner defeated Havre de Grace in last year's Delaware Oaks by a nose and by a neck in the 2010 Alabama. Havre de Grace came back to beat Blind Luck by a nose in the Cotillion at Parx Racing and this March beat the champion filly in the Azeri at Oaklawn Park.

"We had a great trip," said Dominguez. "My horse dragged me to the front and turning for home she gave me all she had and she really kept on digging. It was just a head bob and the other filly got up just in time. But my filly tried very hard."

Blind Luck returned $4.20, $2.10 and $2.10. Havre de Grace paid $2.10 and $2.10, and Life At Ten paid $2.40 to show.

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