This weekend is chalked full of both past and current racing stars ready to shine. Stars like the 2009 Wood Memorial victor, I Want Revenge, will try to show the racing world that he still has what it takes to be among the top handicap males this season. Gio Ponti will try to string together back-to-back wins in more ways than one when he attempts to become the first horse to win back-to-back Arlington Millions. Paddy O'Prado will try to dazzle the crowd yet a third time in a row while amongst his own age group before he tries taking on the leading older male turf horses in the Secretariat Stakes.
However exciting those races seem to be, none of them measure up to what we may see in the Alabama Stakes, where the two most accomplished 3yr old fillies will meet. Devil May Care, the brilliant daughter of Malibu Moon, will try to dethrone last year's Champion Juvenile Filly and this year's Kentucky Oaks winner, Blind Luck.
The last time these two met on the track was in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Fillies, where Blind Luck finished the better of the two. However, one could conclude that Devil May Care should get a mulligan, as the race was run over the synthetic surface Pro-Ride, instead of conventional dirt. Of the two fillies, Blind Luck has certainly proven herself the most consistent, winning more often than not and never finishing worse than third in her 12 race career.
Both fillies demonstrated an immense amount of talent early on in their careers. Blind Luck won her first two starts before capturing the Oak Leaf Stakes in her career start, then absolutely demolished the Hollywood Starlet field by a widening 7 1/4 lengths. Devil May Care was thrust right into grade one competition after easily taking her maiden.
This year the two could not have been more different. Devil May Care has proven just how hard to handle she can be when she is on her game. Each of her wins this year have been dazzling performances, where she simply leaves the crowd staring in awe. When she is off, however, she's really off. In each of her losses this year she has been nowhere to be found, except for up the track.
Blind Luck, on the other hand, has been the picture of consistency. She has crisscrossed the nation more than once this year and never has she run a bad race. The plucky little filly continued the dominance she showed as a two year old by taking the Las Virgenes, Fantasy, Kentucky Oaks, and most recently the Delaware Oaks. As good as she seemed over the synthetics in California, she seems even better over the conventional dirt tracks of the east, so far going a perfect 3 for 3.
Now we finally get to see the two face off, once again. Which one wins, the brilliant, yet inconsistent Devil May Care or the gritty little closer Blind Luck? Here, I'm giving the edge to Devil May Care. One may hesitate at the 11th, 10th, and 5th place finishes that mar an otherwise dazzling career. However, before you jump ship, remember that the 11th place finish came at the hands of Pro-Ride, a track that conventional dirt horses seem to detest. Her 5th place finish came off of a lengthy layoff, just after the Breeders Cup debacle. Lastly, her tenth place finish came, not in the Kentucky Oaks, but the Derby, arguably the hardest race in America to win.
Since those losses Devil May Care has been a complete bear, mauling anything any east coast trainer has the guts to send to meet her. Her tactical speed will give her the ability to to rate up close to the pace, and if needed, she'll even take the lead. Her late acceleration is her most valuable weapon, and it should quickly propel her clear of the rest of the field. The only question is, will Blind Luck, who is known for her close calls this season, be able to run her down? I think not. Blind Luck will come charging hard at Devil May Care, but I fear the Pletcher trainee will just be too far ahead and too plain good to be run down.
At the end of the day, the Devil will collect her winning amongst the Blind Luck's champion crown.