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Oct 26, 2021

Blind Luck Wins Kentucky Oaks

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The stretch at Churchill Downs can seem never-ending, especially when you are aboard a talented filly named Blind Luck and you are the 6-5 favorite in the 136th running of the Kentucky Oaks.

Rafael Bejarano knew Blind Luck had plenty of run left in her, but she had dawdled a little a bit early in the race and they had lost ground. He asked his filly for some juice before he had wanted to heading into the far turn.

Blind Luck picked it up on the outside. When Bejarano hit the stretch, however, a filly named Evening Jewel was four lengths ahead. In the clubhouse, the trainer of Blind Luck knew his girl was in trouble.

“I was really concerned,” he said.

Bejarano was not.

“I knew she was going to show me a big kick,” Bejarano said. “The other horse was still running strong. She gave me an extra kick, and that’s why she finished.”

Did she finish, pounding down the lane for 200 yards until she was nose-to-nose with Evening Jewel. They traded bobs for another dozen strides and then the wire.

The photo flashed, and then everyone in the crowd of 116,046 waited. The image showed Blind Luck a slim nostril ahead of Evening Jewel.

“I didn’t know she was a winner until they put her number up,” said Hollendorfer, who also co-owns the filly.

It was a special victory for Hollendorfer, who had previously won the Oaks in 1991 with Lite Light and in 1996 with Pike Place Dancer. He had decided to skip the Derby with Blind Luck even though she is among the best 3-year-olds of any sex.

She looked it, covering the mile and an eighth in 1:50.70, and rewarding her backers $4.60 for a $2 bet to win.

Is the Preakness or the Belmont Stakes in her future? Hollendorfer dodged the question.

“We targeted this race, and we’ll come up with a plan later,” he said. “Let’s enjoy this one first.”


- Attribution, New York Times, By Joe Drape, April 30, 2010. Photo by Alex Evers/EquiSport Photos