WEST / BLIND LUCK TAKES THRILLING LAS VIRGENES – Odds-on favorite Blind Luck, the likely early favorite for the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) on April 30 at Churchill Downs, launched a desperate rally from last in a field of five to run down Evening Jewel in the final stride to win the $250,000-added Las Virgenes (GI) at Santa Anita by a nose.
The victory by the runner-up to She Be Wild for honors as America’s 2-year-old filly champion of 2009 notched her third Grade I victory in seven career stars. Rafael Bejarano was aboard the winner for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
One centimeter is good enough for me,” Hollendorfer said. “I’ve watched a lot of photos. The second time I thought we won. The first time I wasn’t sure, but second time, I thought we won, and I’m glad we did.”
The daughter of Pollard’s Vision covered a mile over the synthetic Pro-Ride surface in 1:34.98.
Switch finished third, a half-length behind Evening Jewel. The race had been delayed a week because of drainage problems from heavy rains at the Arcadia, Cal. track.
Blind Luck, who is nominated to the Kentucky Derby (GI) and Triple Crown, is expected to run next in the Santa Anita Oaks (GI) on March 6.
SOUTH / LUKAS’ DECELERATOR REBOUNDS IN MARTHA WASHINGTON – The D. Wayne Lukas-trained
Decelerator snapped a string of six straight losses stretching back to Churchill Downs’ Debutante Stakes (GIII) in late June when she rallied to win Saturday’s $75,000 Martha Washington at Oaklawn Park.
Jockey Terry Thompson guided Westrock Stable’s 3-year-old daughter of Dehere along the rail and through a narrow opening in upper stretch and then held off previously unbeaten Eva Giselle by a length for the win. Longshot Belle’s Shoes was third as Decelerator covered one mile in 1:38.49,
Eventual Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra opened her championship campaign with an easy victory in the 2009 Martha Washington.
SOUTHEAST / DIVA DELITE WINS AT TAMPA – Diva Delite rallied on the outside under jockey Rosemary Homeister, Jr. to score a 1 ¾-length victory in the $75,000 Suncoast Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.
The favorite grabbed the lead in deep stretch then held off a late charge along the rail by Miss Aristocrat for the win. Imaginary Saint finished third.
The David Vivian-trained winner covered a mile and 40 yards over a fast track in 1:41.58.
Diva Delite is expected to run next in the Florida Oaks (GIII) at Tampa Bay.
EAST / LONGSHOT ROMAN CHESTNUT SUPRISES IN BUSHER – Roman Chestnut, the longest shot in the field at odds of 45-1, rallied to score an upset victory in Saturday’s $65,000 Busher Stakes at Aqueduct.
Apprentice jockey Angel Serpa notched the first win of his career as he guided Roman Chestnut to the surprising victory. Anchorage finished second and Speightful Affair was third as the winne covered 1 1/15 miles in 1:45.93. Roman Chestnut paid $93.50 to win.