Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Blind Luck and Havre de Grace: Inseparable to the End!

Posted by Brian Appleton on July 17, 2011

It was billed as one of the most anticipated races of the year and the sixth installment of an incredible rivalry. Not only did the Delaware Handicap live up to its billing, it far exceeded it, taking racing fans to that rare and special level of exceptional wonder where only the greatest icons of the sport can lift its followers. Blind Luck and Havre de Grace brought down the house Saturday at Delaware Park and in millions of homes across the nation with their stunning display of courage, determination and talent.

 

In a field of five older fillies and mares including defending 2010 Delaware Handicap winner Life At Ten, Havre de Grace was sent off as the favorite with Blind Luck a close second. Havre de Grace broke swiftly from the gate, two pounds the high weight over Blind Luck, but swerved slightly to the inside before settling nicely in third behind Life At Ten and  Thundering Emilia. Blind Luck game out of the gate well and quickly secured her normal spot in the rear of the field, just behind Love’s Blush. After the opening quarter in :23.3 Garret Gomez had wisely eased Blind Luck a head in front of Love’s Blush, taking over fourth, keeping Havre de Grace in his sights. Going into the first turn Ramon Dominguez took a very eager Havre de Grace into the outside path, running in the clear just two lengths behind Life At Ten. More than five lengths back in fourth Blind Luck was traveling well for Gomez, now just over a length in front of Love’s Blush and traveling comfortably.

 

After the half in :47.4 Havre de Grace sat less than two lengths off the lead while Blind Luck moved even farther up, playing cat and mouse with her arch adversary, matching move for move. After three quarters of a mile in 1:12.2 the field began to round the far turn and the scene quickly changed. Havre de Grace came swooping up on the outside and seized the lead turning for home as Blind Luck initiated   her deadly closing run, over taking Thundering Emilia and Life At Ten with ease and driving for Havre de Grace. The two fillies came thundering into the stretch to the roars from the crowd, now shrieking with excitement at the prospect of witnessing the epic stretch duel they had dreamed would ensue.

Down the stretch the two titans charged, Blind Luck closing to within a nose of her rival, but unable to pass it seemed. The whip came out on Havre de Grace as Garret Gomez began to desperately urge Blind Luck forward, his hands flashing across her neck in an attempt to rouse her best effort. Blind Luck responded with another slight surge, taking the lead by a nose over Havre de Grace with the wire just a few strides away. The pair of fillies flashed under the line, inseparable to the end, just as they will be remembered in history.

 

Their rivalry has now reached epic proportions, worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Affirmed and Alydar, Sunday Silence and Easy Goer and so many others. The final time for the Delaware Handicap (gr.2) was an excellent 2:01.28, faster than the 2:01.57 First Dude ran in his Hollywood Gold Cup win last weekend and a full second faster than the 2:02.28 it took Blame to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic last Fall, and Blind Luck never even felt the whip. I think it’s safe to say Blind Luck and Havre de Grace are the two best horses in the nation. They finished an incredible 18 ½ lengths ahead of Life At Ten in third. What Blind Luck and Havre de Grace did Saturday was more than just put on a show, or display raw, impressive talent, they showcased the heart of thoroughbred horse racing. When you really get right down to it it’s the great rivalries and hard core opponents that truly make a horse great, and Havre de Grace and Blind Luck are certainly proving themselves great at their own expense. When and where these two amazing athletes will meet again is anybody’s guess, but I hope we get to see them slug it out at least once more before the Breeders’ Cup in November.

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