INGLEWOOD, Calif. (Dec. 20, 2009) — Second-choice Blind Luck made her own luck Sunday in the $405,250 Hollywood Starlet, making an explosive move early in the stretch and drawing away under a hand ride by jockey Rafael Bejarano to win the Grade I event by a widening seven lengths.
The chestnut daughter of Pollard’s Vision was well back much of the way while running along the rail, but easily moved into contention when moved outside on the far turn by Bejarano. The Starlet seemed wide open for a split second as the field turned for home, but Blind Luck quickly put the issue to rest with her exhilarating move.
She covered 1 1/16 miles Cushion Track in 1:41.96 and was full of run at the wire, continuing to draw farther and farther away from her six rivals after crossing the wire.
“Wow! I worked her the last four times and she’s been unbelievable in the morning,” Bejarano said. “She’s been relaxing so well in her works and has been showing a big turn of foot. She did the same thing today. I think she’s going to be a real good filly. I had so much horse I wanted to wait as long as I could. When I asked her a little she showed me a big turn of foot.”
The victory was the fourth in six starts for the Kentucky-bred filly, who finished third — beaten less than one length — while making her previous start in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in November.
Blind Luck, ridden by Bejarano for the first time with Tyler Baze recuperating from finger surgery, paid $5.60, $3.20 and $2.60. Miss Heather Lee returned $11.20 and $6.40, while the show payoff on Amen Hallelujah was $5.40. Favorite Beautician, the runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, began to fade on the turn for home and finished last.
Blind Luck, owned by trainer Jerry Hollendorfer in partnership with Mark DeDomenico and John Carver, banked $243,150 to increase her earnings to $709,050. Purchased after breaking her maiden in her first career start for a claiming tag of $40,000 in June, she won her first start for her new owners on July 29 at Del Mar before finishing second to Mi Sueno in the Darley Debutante. She became a Grade I winner in the Oak Leaf at Santa Anita one start before the Breeders’ Cup.
“That was exciting,” Hollendorfer said. “I’ve never seen her move like that. We were hoping to run in all the Grade I races and I think this stamps her up pretty good as one of the contenders. It’s a big advantage that Rafael likes to come and work our horses. He’s worked this filly every time. Now he knows her very well. The more a rider knows a horse the more they are in sync. If she looks like she’s doing well between races we might wait for the Las Virgenes. Our long range goal is the Kentucky Oaks.”
The Starlet capped a meet with several highlights, beginning with dramatic Grade I victories by Fluke and Ventura in the Citation Handicap and The Matriarch during the 18th Turf Festival on Thanksgiving Weekend.
Both were saddled by Humberto Ascanio, the assistant of 35 years to Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, who died of lymphoma less than two weeks earlier. Ascanio finished the meeting with three graded wins, also sending out Frankel’s 2008 Hollywood Gold Cup champion Mast Track to win the Native Diver Handicap.
Ascanio was voted trainer of the meet by media, while Ventura was voted Hose of the Meet, Older Female and Female Turf Horse. Fluke was Turf Horse and Mast Track Older Horse.
Jockey Joel Rosario equaled the Hollywood Park record of six wins on a program, set by Bill Shoemaker in 1953 and matched by Laffit Pincay Jr. (1968), Shoemaker (1970) and Kent Desormeaux (1992). Rosario’s six wins came on Dec. 11 as he padded his lead atop the standings en route to his first Autumn Meet title with 37 winners. The title was his third of 2009 as he also was leading rider at Hollywood Park’s Spring/Summer Meet and at Del Mar.
Lookin At Lucky firmly established himself as the nation’s top 2-year-old with an impressive victory in the $750,000 CashCall Futurity on closing weekend. The win was a record fifth in the Futurity for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who also earned his first quadruple here with four winners — all with juveniles — on the Futurity program.
John Sadler was leading trainer with 15 wins — one more than Baffert — as he earned his second Autumn Meet title and his third Hollywood Park crown.
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