Photo: Hollywood Park
The $250,000 Grade I Vanity Handicap will not be quite the
same without retired three-time winner Zenyatta but the distaff championship of
the Hollywood Park will not be lacking for drama Saturday.
Champion Blind Luck and two females who finished close
seconds to Zenyatta last year--St Trinians and Switch--are expected to vie for
favoritism in a field of six in the 1 1/8-mile race on Cushion Track.
“She’s doing good,” said trainer Mike Mitchell Thursday,
hoping that luck will be on the side of St Trinians this time. The English-bred
mare was overtaken in the final strides to finish second, one-half length
behind Zenyatta, in the Vanity last year and was disqualified from first for
interference in the stretch in her last start, the Milady Handicap May 21.
Switch can relate to St Trinians, also being collared in
deep stretch by Zenyatta to finish second by one-half length in the Lady’s
Secret Stakes here last October. C R K Stable owner Lee Searing is distributing
4,000 free T-shirts with a “Go Switch” logo on the chest to fans on a
first-come, first-serve basis.
Blind Luck will leave from the outside post under high
weight of 123 pounds as she seeks to provide trainer Jerry Hollendorfer with a
special gift on the conditioner’s 65th birthday.
The lineup also includes lightly raced American Story, the
expected pacesetter for trainer Bob Baffert, and Miss Match, who won the Grade
I Santa Margarita Stakes as a 45-1 longshot two starts back.
Miss Match, a 6-year-old Argentine-bred mare, subsequently finished
fourth in the Apple Blossom Handicap April 15 at Oaklawn Park April 15, a race
in which Switch finished second behind winner Havre de Grace.
“The Apple Blossom was a mistake,” said Hall of Fame trainer
Neil Drysdale of the 1 1/16-mile race. “It was too short for her. She’s doing
very well since she came back.” Drysdale seeks a record-equaling fifth Vanity
John Shirreffs, who set the record of five after Zenyatta’s
three-peat last year, will only have cherished memories of the Vanity this year
as he saddles starters in three other races Saturday. “Maybe I’ll get a chance
to try it again one day,” said Shirreffs.
Zenyatta, in foal to Bernardini in Kentucky, not only was
the only horse to win the Vanity three times in its 69-year history, she also
carried a staggering 129 pounds in her last two wins.