January 10, 2010

Making a Case for Blind Luck

The Eclipse Awards will be handed out next week. Some winners are clear cut, while other awards will not be assured until the announcement. As far as my picks go, I feel rather confident about most of them winning. I look for my selection, Gio Ponti, the excellent grass horse, to win the Older Male award simply because it is a category with no real winner. Take your pick between Ventura and my selection Goldikova for Female Grass Horse, either way I will be happy for a deserving winner. I fully expect Kodiak Kowboy to be rewarded for beating much stronger horses than Zensational in the Sprint division, and I am quietly confident that the numbers will side with the most deserving Horse of the Year, Rachel Alexandra. Meanwhile there is one Eclipse selection that I have made, that seems to hold little chance to win an award. Her name is Blind Luck.

When the announcement for the Champion Juvenile Filly of 2009 is announced, I expect it to be She Be Wild. She is the Breeders’ Cup Champion and has lost only once in five starts. Her resume is strong and I can see why so many people are voting for her. Here is why I disagree with the majority: Blind Luck is the better horse. Think about it this way, if Blind Luck and She Be Wild were entered against each other in a race tomorrow, I have little doubt as to who would be much preferred in the betting…Blind Luck. Now this is far from the deciding factor for a year-end award, however, if the credentials of the two horses are similar, shouldn’t we be voting for the better horse?

Interestingly both fillies began their career in maiden claiming, up for a tag of $40,000. Both fillies ran fast, She Be Wild won at Arlington winnig by 7 ¼ while Blind Luck won at Calder by 13 ¼. Before her second race, Blind Luck was purchased and shipped to Jerry Hollendorfer’s barn in California. She began her California career with a eye catching rush from last to an easy win in a restricted allowance. From there she took the big step up to Grade 1 company in the Del Mar Debutante and ran a big race where she came flying down the lane to pass everyone but the extremely talented Mi Sueno. Meanwhile, She Be Wild remained in Chicago and dominated in a listed stake and then the Grade 3 Arlington Washington Lassie. Both were impressive, but neither race offered much in competition. She Be Wild then ran a good race, in a losing effort, next time out, when second in Keeneland’s Grade 1 Alciabades. Blind Luck easily won the Grade 1 Oak Leak in her fourth start and both fillies would enter the BC Juvenile Fillies with matching records of three wins and one second in four starts. Blind Luck was the 7-2 favorite.

We all know what happened that day as She Be Wild got through on the rail and won the Breeders’ Cup by ¾ of a length. In my mind it was the case of one horse getting a decidedly better trip than her closest competition. Blind Luck was steadied on the first turn and was a hard trying third, beaten less than one length. Surely, if the trips had been reversed, Blind Luck would have been the winner. She Be Wild has been put away for the year, not running again after her big win. Blind Luck did race again, and what a race it was. In the best performance of any juvenile filly in 2009, Blind Luck dazzled the world with an explosive turn of foot in her romping win in the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet. It was her fourth Grade 1 race, winning twice, compared to She Be Wild who ran in only two Grade 1 races, winning once.

Like I said, I fully expect She Be Wild to get the championship, and I mean no disrespect to her or her accomplishments, but I know who I think is the better filly, how about you?


LDP said...

Both are deserving winners, and this, unlike some other awards, is very debatable. I think what it will come down to, since the credentials are so close is the BC. It is my opinion that in this type of situation that the BC should be the deciding factor, since both are genuinely close and both had very similar seasons. The thing that could make the voting much closer is the fact that Blind Luck blind sided all of her opponents in a, as you called it, "dazzling" performance. This is one award I really couldn't tell you who I think deserves it more. But if talent is the last deciding factor, then yes Blind Luck would be my choice.

ja.raymond said...

Preach it, Brian!!!
Blind Luck, all the way!
She was my pick in the BC, and she's my pick for the Eclipse!
A solid little girl!!
Cant wait for her 3yo yr :)

Anonymous said...

I agree...Blind Luck's performance in the Hollywood Starlet completely won me over. It was stunning.

MH said...

I agree on both counts, that Blind Luck should win and that Blind Luck won't win. But if she does, I'll have a happy heart attack. She was very compromised in the BC, but now I only see better things ahead with Bejarano up.