Switch Upsets Blind Luck

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Photo: Hollywood Park

Switch, who had been second or third in three of her four previous starts in graded stakes, broke through with a win on Sunday, upsetting heavily favored Blind Luck in the $150,000 Hollywood Oaks at Hollywood Park.

Trained by John Sadler for Lee and Susan Searing’s C R K Stable, the 3-year-old Quiet American filly by the Nicholas mare Antoniette got first run on the Kentucky Oaks winner and went on to victory by 1 ¼ lengths in the Grade II.

Switch’s win was her second in six starts and increased her earnings to $189,600. She also evened the score with Blind Luck. In their first encounter, Blind Luck had defeated Switch, who wound up third, by a half-length in the Las Virgenes, a Grade 1, on Feb. 13 at Santa Anita.

Camped third on the outside under jockey Martin Garcia, who replaced Joel Rosario, who had been named to ride when entries were taken on June 3, while Camille C set a very slow pace with Vision In Gold in close attendance, Switch joined the leader in deep stretch, kicked clear from the California bred, then was not seriously menaced by Blind Luck in the closing yards.

Due to the extremely soft fractions – 25.30 for the opening quarter, 50.11 for the half-mile and 1:14.50 for six furlongs – the final time of 1:44.54 was the slowest in the Oaks since the race was shortened to 1 1/16 miles in 2002.

Second, a half-length behind Tanda, in the Railbird Stakes at seven furlongs in her first start of the meet on May 9, Switch returned $7.40, $2.80 and $2.20 as the 5-2 second choice. She carried 113 pounds, 10 less than the runner-up.

Blind Luck, the 1-2 favorite seeking to join Fran’s Valentine (1985) as the only fillies to win both the Kentucky and Hollywood Oaks, paid $2.20 and $2.10. Camille C, who finished three-quarters of a length behind Blind Luck, paid $3.20 to show. Antares World and Vision In Gold completed the order of finish.

“We always wanted to get her off the pace and that’s why we dropped her back for the Railbird,’’ said Sadler after his first win in the Oaks. “She found herself a couple of times at Santa Anita on easy leads, but I really wanted to get her off the pace a little bit.

“This filly is tactical, so we knew she could get a really good position. She has a really good turn of foot, so I knew we would get first jump on (Blind Luck).’’

Sadler also talked about the jockey change, necessitated because Rosario, who had ridden at Belmont Park on Saturday, had gone home to the Dominican Republic.

“Rosario got his signals mixed up,’’ said Sadler. “He was supposed to come back and ride her. This is a designated race and he had days (a three day suspension for his disqualification aboard Repo in the Manhattan Beach Stakes on May 30) but somehow he thought he couldn’t ride a designated race. I had to get a rider and Martin seemed like a good choice.’’

Hollendorfer, who won the Hollywood Oaks with Hystericalady in 2006, saw Blind Luck lose for only the second time in five 2009 races. She has won seven of 11 and earned $1,428,712.

“He (jockey Rafael Bejarano) could have laid a little closer,’’ he said. “I’ve got no excuse.’’

Racing resumes Wednesday at Hollywood Park. Post time is 1 p.m.





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