Saturday, August 22, 2009


LAUREL, MD. 08-22-09---William Backer’s Blind Date left the starting gate as the 2-5 favorite and crossed the finish line as the undisputed winner of the $50,000 Pearl Necklace Stakes, the feature offering contested over the good main track today at Laurel Park.

Driven to victory by Rosemary Homeister, Blind Date completed the one mile distance in 1:37.57. Racing two-wide down the backstretch and three-wide down the lane, Homeister had only to call upon the 3-year-old daughter of Not For Love at the eighth pole and she responded with a strong surge and a 4-1/2 length victory.

“I did have a lot of horse,” said Homeister. “She broke real sharp and she tried to take me to the lead early in the race but I kind of sat back on her and waited and when I asked for her explosive finish she gave it to me.”

Five Diamonds pressed the action, passed frontrunner Ravenous but couldn’t hold off the winner and finished second. Ravenous was third. The winner paid $2.80.

This was the fourth stakes victory of the year for Blind Date with wins in Pimlico’s Hookedonthefeelin’ (April 18) and Hilltop Stakes (May 15) and Colonial Downs’ Grade III Virginia Oaks (July 18), all on the turf, prior to today. Saturday’s race was scheduled for the grass but taken off because of rainy weather in the Baltimore-Washington D.C. markets overnight and throughout the afternoon.

“It worked out well,” said Smith. “She won this easy and has done everything we have asked.”

Smith indicated his star will make her next start in the Jim McKay Maryland Million at Laurel on September 26. The conditioner will nominate to multiple races on the 12-race card, including the Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on the dirt at one mile and the Ladies for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

“We think she can run as well on the dirt as the turf,” said Smith, who has three Maryland Million victories on his resume. “We’ll talk it over with Mr. Backer and figure out what we’d like to do but we’ll likely cross enter in several races and see what happens.”

Blind Date is now six-for-eight lifetime, with seven in the money finishes, for earnings of $225,060.


Ten Laurel Park riders competed in today’s 100 foot “Rody Max Jockey Dash” in-between the fourth and fifth races to benefit the Maryland Horsemen’s Assistance Fund.

Demonstrating superior “hippity-hop” skills, Geovany Garcia bounced his mount to top honors in a photo finish over apprentice Joshua Navarro.

“That was a lot of fun,” said Garcia. “My strategy was to jump high and as strong as possible.”

Fans were encouraged to make donations and to purchase a special horse beanie baby (Blinkers), with all proceeds going to the charity.

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