Week of July 18, 2011
By Dana Byerly, Hello Race Fans Co-founder

Much like last weekend, many races came down to the wire. Unlike last weekend we probably saw the best race of the year in the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap. Blind Luck and Havre de Grace, arguably the two best horses in training, dueled neck and neck almost the entire length of the stretch but in the end it was Blind Luck, who beat her rival for the fourth time of their six meetings.

The Delaware Handicap is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race, so Blind Luck now has a seat at the table without having to pay the entry fee but there are plenty of other chances for Havre de Grace to get her ticket stamped. No word on what’s next for these two but when asked if he would consider running Blind Luck in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said he’d prefer to continue to run her against females so he could run her next year!

Irish Gypsy is also on her way to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint after winning the Grade 2 A Gleam Handicap at Hollywood Park by the narrowest of margins. Earlier on the card, the Grade 1 American Oaks ended in a dead heat between Nereid and Cambina, the first dead heat in a Grade 1 at Hollywood Park since 1990.

At Parx A.U. Miner scored his second consecutive win in the Greenwood Cup and is on his way to the Breeders’ Cup Marathon. Excited got her first graded win in the Virgina Oaks and Air Support pulled a mild upset over Banned at Colonial Downs. No word on what’s next for any of the three.

At Belmont Park, favored Right One received an extremely well-timed ride to nip horse for the course Yield Bogey on the wire. Belmont wrapped up it’s Spring/Summer meet with Linda Rice and Todd Pletcher tying for leading trainer, Rice also scored her 1000th victory. The riding title went to Ramon Dominguez who scored two more victories than Javier Castellano. New York racing heads north to Saratoga for the rest of the summer.

Juveniles and distance turf runners took center stage on closing day of the Hollywood Park meet with the Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes and the Sunset Handicap. Majestic City seemed to come alive at the 16th pole in the Juvenile Championship while Imponente Purse launched his winning bid from the back of the pack in the mile and a half Sunset Handicap. Trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Joel Rosario were the meet leaders this year, California racing moves to Del Mar for the rest of the summer.

With the opening of Del Mar and Saratoga later on this week we’ll publish an updated ranking of our 5 Favorite Summer Tracks, including additional panelist to spruce up our list. Will Saratoga remain number 1? Stop back later this week and find out! Del Mar and Saratoga feature great juvenile and turf racing, now is a great time to brush up on your Juvenile Pedigree and Turf Pedigree handicapping, particularly given that there are two juvenile stakes races at Saratoga on opening weekend!

Next weekend is relatively quiet with the Grade 1 Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar and Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks, the second leg of the Triple Tiara, at Saratoga.

Keep with racing commentary and news at Raceday 360 Wire!

Last Week’s Races

2011 Jaipur Stakes Replay
Favorite Right One nipped Yield Bogey on the wire by the slimmest of margins.

2011 Delaware Handicap Replay
In what could potentially turn out to be the best race of the year, the two best horses in training, Blind Luck and Havre de Grace, renew their rivalry with a thrilling stretch duel that went to Blind Luck by a head.

2011 American Oaks Replay
Nereid takes them all the way but Cambina gets up for the dead heat.

2011 A Gleam Handicap Replay
Irish Gypsy beat a fast closing Ultra Blend by the narrowest of margins.

2011 Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes Replay
Majestic City came alive at the 16th pole to pull away.

2011 Sunset Handicap Replay
Imponente Purse launched his winning bid from the back of the pack.

Upcoming Graded Stakes Races

Check probable starters at Horse Racing Nation’s Stakes Tracker

See you at the track!

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