Saturday, May 01, 2010

Calder Barn Notes: 05-01-10

Blind Luck Fourth Oaks Winner with Calder History

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (May 1, 2010) – With a thrilling stretch charge and head-bob, photo-finish victory, Blind Luck won Friday’s 136th edition of the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs for trainer and co-owner Jerry Hollendorfer, becoming the fourth filly to have raced at Calder Race Course earlier in her career to capture America’s most coveted test for 3-year-old fillies.

A chestnut daughter of Pollard’s Vision originally purchased for $11,000 as a yearling, Blind Luck won her career debut at Calder by 13 ¼ lengths on June 21 last year for trainer Jim Hatchett while
racing for a $40,000 claiming tag and no takers. She was then sold privately shortly thereafter for a considerably larger price to a group of California owners led by Hollendorfer.

Blind Luck has now won seven of 10 career starts and nearly $1.4 million, and was the favorite in the Oaks Friday under jockey Rafael Bejarano, becoming the third winner of the Oaks for Hollendorfer, following Lite Lite in 1991 and Pike Place Dancer in 1996.

The first Oaks winner to have run at Calder was Calumet Farm’s Hall of Fame champion filly Davona Dale early in 1979 as she finished fourth in the Tropical Park Derby (G3) against colts when the race was run on the main track in just the third start of her career for trainer John Veitch.

In 1983 another Hall of Fame Kentucky Oaks winner helped define the early history of Calder as trainer Frank Gomez developed Paula Tucker’s Princess Rooney to sweep her first five starts here as a 2-year-old. The roan/gray daughter of Verbatim would close out her career winning the inaugural edition of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) at Hollywood Park in 1984 by seven lengths for trainer Neil Drysdale.

The third Oaks winner to have run at Calder earlier in her career was Marylou Whitney’s homebred Bird Town in 2003 for trainer Nick Zito. The daughter of Birdstone completed her 2-year-old campaign in 2002 finishing third as the favorite in the Three Ring Stakes at Calder on Dec. 14 making her stakes race debut.

Gleaves Sends Our Career Winner 500 Friday

Trainer Phil Gleaves is off to a good start at the 2010 Calder Casino & Race Course season, sending out Quantum Racing Team #1 LLC’s 5-year-old gelding Mambo Meister to capture last Sunday’s $100,000 Miami Mile Handicap (G1) and saddling Russell L. Reineman Stable’s 4-year-old filly Arctic Eva to win Friday’s eighth race, marking the trainer’s 500th career win.

“It was particularly special for me to win number 500 for the Reineman stable,” said Gleaves Saturday morning. “I talked to Jennifer McCutcheon, Mr. Reineman’s granddaughter, last night. She runs the stable now, and I told her how much I appreciated to continue to be associated with the stable.

“Naturally, I first knew Mr. Reineman when I was with Woody (Stephens as assistant), then came Wise Times not long after I went out on my own and this filly (Arctic Eva) is by Distorted Humor, who I developed early in his career before he was sold privately (to WinStar Farm).”

Wise Times won the Monmouth Invitational (G1) and Travers Stakes (G1) in 1986 for Reineman Stable and is among Gleaves’ early stakes victories. A native of Liverpool, England, Gleaves has won more than 40 stakes races, including 10 at Calder. Other notable performers since Wise Times and before Mambo Meister included Phantom Jet, Crafty Wife, Happy Jazz Band and Evening Kris.

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