Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Blind Luck and the Big Cap

Posted by Brian Appleton on March 4, 2010

Blind Luck

The Santa Anita Oaks headlines the most talented 3-year-old filly in the country this year just like it did in 2009. Last year it was Stardom Bound on a tremendous Grade-1 winning streak entered as the overwhelming favorite, this year Blind Luck steps into that role and looks to prove she can continue her winning ways by dominating the West Coast filly division. Speculation has already been raised as to whether or not the dynamics of the race will get the star filly beat. As a come-from-behind runner Blind Luck depends on a front-running horse to set a good pace for her to run into and so far the Santa Anita Oaks looks like a race deprived of known frontrunners.  A lack of pace in her last start forced Blind Luck to rundown the leader in the homestretch while still winning the Las Virgenes Stakes (gr.1) by a thrilling nose. The feeling here is that she will handle the pace, lack-of or other, just fine and continue her winning streak. The Las Virgenes was her 2010 debut and with that gut-wrencher under her belt she will most likely be sharper in her second outing.

Rachel Alexandra and Zenyatta should be proud of what they have been able to accomplish in handing out their multiple thrashings of the boys. Walls are coming down everywhere it seems and the fillies are charging through, unafraid and unconcerned of their male counterparts.

St Trinians leads the latest charge as she attempts to become the first filly history to win the Big Cap. The Santa Anita

St Trinians

Handicap sounds like a tough spot to place a filly but when you consider the alternative, running against Zenyatta one week later, the choice looks much easier. St Trinians last out defeated 2009 Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic victor Life Is Sweet in the Santa Maria. She has won all four of her starts in California since shipping over from Europe by more than 16 combined lengths. Set to load in the gate opposite the brilliant filly is a talented line-up of males.

Bob Baffert trainee Misremembered has finished second in the his last three starts. He has been working well up to the race and is improving with time according to jockey Joe Steiner.

Other entries include Grade-1 winner Mast Track plus Jeranimo, Neko Bay, Loup Breton, Marsh Side, Delightful Kiss and Dakota Phone.

The filly gets a significant weight break here because of the sex allowance. St Trinians carries 113 pounds compared to the high-weights Mast Track, Neko Bay, Loup Breton and Marsh Side all weighing in at 117 pounds.

The Gotham Stakes is a handicap chore at its best. The contenders are about as close to inseperable as is possible. The main ingredient is potential here not experience. At first glance Whirlaway Stakes winner Peppi Knows would seem to have the experience edge. The one question here is his ability to rate off the pace, unlike he did in the Whirlaway when going gate-to-wire against a less than stellar field.

Three Day Rush, defeated by 1 ½ lengths in the Whirlaway after being carried wide on the turn by Eightfiveinafifty, returns here for trainer Todd Pletcher to prove he is better than his Whirlaway showing. The fact that he has Pletcher as a trainer makes him “the one” to watch here as Pletcher’s runners have been snatching up practically every Derby prep in sight.

Afleet Again, Wow Wow Wow, Awesome Act and Turf Melody finish out the top choices. Turf Melody was on most Derby watch-lists before his 6th place finish in the Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds in January.

Tuscan Evening

Tuscan Evening joins the roster of superior fillies willing to put it on-the-line against the boys this weekend when she starts in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile Handicap (gr.1) at Santa Anita. She faces a good cast of athletes on the turf here that includes multiple graded stakes winner Battle of Hastings, the unstoppable warrior Awesome Gem, Ever a Friend who won the Kilroe two years back, Fluke who last out took the Citation Handicap (gr.1) and fellow filly Proviso who last out finished second in the Grade-1 Santa Monica Handicap.  Tuscan Evening sports a glittering record of 8 wins from 12 starts for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and looks primed and ready to make that 9 for 13.

Good Luck to all, keep your fingers crossed that the rain avoids Santa Anita and enjoy the racing spectacle this weekend.

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7 Responses to “Blind Luck and the Big Cap”

  1. Steve M. said

    Brian,
    Some great races are carded Saturday at Santa Anita, but unfortunately rain in is the forecast again 🙂 I hope they run, because with fourteen entered in the Big Cap, it should be exciting. By the way, I like Tiger’s Rock to win. No question he can handle synth and the distance will be no problem; in fact he’d prefer another furlong or two. Just needs to stay close to Mast Track and blow by in the stretch. Fingers crossed . . .

    • I’m hoping the rain holds off long enough that they won’t have to cancel the Big Cap, I’m really looking forward to seeing this field compete. I slid right over Tiger’s Rock, I’ll have to go take a look at him now!! (: I’ve always liked Awesome Gem, but he’s hard to predict, he usually gives a good run, but once in awhile he throws a clunker in. Also like Misremembered.

  2. Excellent post (as always), amigo. I’m hoping the Big Cap and the Sham go off without a hitch, but it does appear like it will pour. Oh well, at least we get to enjoy the first nice weekend of the decade here on the east coast! 🙂

  3. gib. said

    Luck can be blind.

  4. I’m late on this but in retrospect I think a lot of people missed the declining form that was evident in Blind Luck’s form cycle.

    She was hard pressed to win her last race. Just like Stardom Bound was before she was handed her first defeat. Take nothing away from the winner Crisp. But she was hard pressed to win over All Due Respect who also beat Blind Luck by a neck who got the show.

    I’m glad I’m not holding futures tickets on Blind Luck.
    A rest might be required for her at this point.

    • It could be that she is tired, but I don’t think her performance in the Las Virgenes was a declining effort. She closed tremendously into slow fractions down the homestretch to snatch the win by a nose. That may have taken more out of her than everyone realized, but she was running with even slower internal fractions in the Santa Anita Oaks, so her job was once again very difficult from the outset and she only missed by half a length.
      I tend to think she’ll come out of the race fine and be pointed towards another target. Unlike Stardom Bound last year, she is still showing a good late closing kick. Maybe her connections will try dirt sometime soon so we can see if she really is a good Kentucky Oaks candidate.

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