SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Blind Luck fought off Havre de Grace inside the sixteenth pole to win the $500,000 Alabama Stakes by a neck at Saratoga Race Course on Saturday as heavily favored Devil May Care faded to fourth.
Joel Rosario rode Blind Luck to victory in the 1¼-mile race for 3-year-old fillies, finishing in 2:03.99 to add the Grade I Alabama to four stakes victories this year, including the Kentucky Oaks.
"I thought when Joel made his move coming into the lane, he would have a good chance to run them down," trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said. "I didn't know until the wire."
In a clash between the top two 3-year-old fillies in the country, Blind Luck and two-time Grade I winner Devil May Care stayed behind the field over slow fractions before making their charge near the top of the stretch.
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"I got her out nearing the quarter-pole, but she didn't come up with anything," Devil May Care jockey John Velazquez said.
Blind Luck had just enough to take the lead and keep it.
"It seems like we have the best 3-year-old filly right now," Hollendorfer said. "I hate to make those kinds of assessments. We'll see what she can do the rest of the year.
"She did all the work, and I just get to train her. I give Blind Luck all the credit. We've had a very consistent filly all year long. She's real flexible and got the job done today on a slow pace. I'm very proud of her."
Rosario said the slow early pace, usually a detriment to a late-running horse, was of no concern.
"I was expecting a pretty slow pace," he said, "but I sat in behind them and watched. I stayed back and, when I got to the quarter pole, I was very confident. I knew I'd get there."
The California-based Blind Luck earned $300,000, pushing her 2010 earnings past $1 million for owners Mark Dedomenico, Mark Carver and Hollendorfer.
Five wins for Velazquez
Devil May Care didn't come through for John Velazquez, but the jockey did manage a five-win day.
After narrowly missing aboard his mount in the first race, Velazquez broke a pair of maidens in the second and third. In the fourth, he rode favored Callide Valley to a 10¼-length allowance victory before completing a sweep of the early Pick 4 aboard Morning Line with an 11-length victory. Velazquez rode a fifth winner, Zapster, in the ninth, prevailing by a half-length.