Blind Luck Runs Down Unrivaled Belle to Win La Troienne

May 14, 2011 John Asher

Mark DeDomenico, John Carver, Peter Abruzzo and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s Blind Luck returned to the scene of her victory in last year’s Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) and collared Unrivaled Belle in the final 50 yards to win the 26th running of the $333,900 La Troienne Presented by Blackberry/RIM (GII) for fillies and mares by a half-length on Kentucky Oaks Day at Churchill Downs.

Ridden by Garrett Gomez, Blind Luck turned the tables on Unrivaled Belle who had beaten her in last November’s Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (GI) under the Twin Spires. Blind Luck covered the mile and a sixteenth on a fast main track in 1:42.93.

Absinthe Minded led the field through fractions of  :24.32, :48.54 and 1:11.88 as Blind Luck raced at the tail of the field after stumbling at the start of the race. 

On the far turn, Quiet Giant and All Due Respect turned up the heat on Absinthe Minded with Unrivaled Belle, coming four wide, moving into contention. Gomez had Blind Luck in the clear and at the top of the stretch moved six wide with dead aim on the leaders.

Unrivaled Belle, with Kent Desormeaux up, took command at the sixteenth pole only to have Blind Luck surge past for her second Churchill Downs win.  Unrivalled Belle, who lost for the first time in three races at Churchill Downs, upset reigning Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the same race last year.

A 4-year-old daughter of Pollard’s Vision out of the Best of Luck mare Lucky One, Blind Luck earned $200,807 with the victory and improved her career bankroll to $2,679,519 with a record of 19-10-7-2.

Favored in the field of eight, Blind Luck returned $4.80, $2.60 and $2.20. Unrivaled Belle returned $3.20 and $2.60 with All Due Respect finishing three lengths back in third under Javier Castellano and paying $5.80 to show.

Absinthe Minded finished a nose back in fourth and was followed in order by Ravi’s Song, Quiet Giant, Stage Magic and Seeking the Title.


GARRETT GOMEZ (Jockey, Blind Luck, winner) – “She was standing good (at the start) and then for some reason she fell to her head. But she got back up and got going. One of the positive things about it is that she wants to be back there (near the rear) anyway. I didn’t have to rush her, just sort of ease up to them. I picked them up without having to use her too much. I was doing it by feel. You know when they go down like that to start, you’ve used up a quarter of your tank of gas to start. Then you’ve got to play it by ear from there. She was on the bridle then off and I was tapping on the gas, then easing on off. It’s just a feel thing. She’s just a little filly, but she’s very agile. Thank goodness she didn’t grab a quarter. That way she was able to put out all the way and wasn’t running while she was trying to deal with some pain. When she came running late I still wasn’t sure if we’d get there. That other filly (Unrivaled Belle) is tough and a fighter, so I didn’t know if we were home or not. But my filly wants to win. She’s tough. And we got on by.” 

JERRY HOLLENDORFER (Trainer, Blind Luck, winner) – “We had trouble in the beginning, she overcame it and I am very proud of her. We never lost confidence in her (after four straight runner-up finishes). I always thought it was circumstances that prevented her from getting another win. We never gave up on her. We gave her plenty of time to get ready this race. She came through for us big time. I didn't want to run in the Apple Blossom (at Oaklawn Park on April 15). I wanted to run in this race and then we will probably run next in the Vanity at Hollywood Park.'

KENT DESORMEAUX (Jockey, Unrivaled Belle, second) — “She was very comfortable and relaxed well during the race. We took dead aim on the leaders and got by them with relative ease. The winner came around me though and was just best today. My mare was full of run and she did her thing.”

BILL MOTT (Trainer, Unrivaled Belle, second) – “She ran really hard, even though it was a little bit of a slow pace. You can’t take anything away from the winner who came from farther back and around us. She ran hard. She was just beaten today and just got run down.”

JAVIER CASTELLANO (Jockey, All Due Respect, third): “We saved ground and had a good trip. We just weren’t fast enough today.”

Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875.  Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 7, 2011. The track’s 2011 Spring Meet is scheduled for April 30-July 4.  Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record seven times and the event will return to the track for its next renewal on Nov. 4-5. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at 

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