I'm feeling like today is a good day just to take a leap, and today's leap is predicting who will be next year's Champion Older Mare. The last few years it has been the fillies and mares relentlessly ruling the racetrack and it doesn't look like there will be any big changes to that this year. Life at Ten and Unrivalled Belle, arguably the two best of the division last year, not including Zenyatta, will be taking on the newly turned 4 year olds, Blind Luck, Devil May Care, Havre de Grace and possibly even Evening Jewel and Switch. With that line-up, the Older Mare division will be dynamite, but which one of these lovely ladies will scratch and claw there way to the top?
Will it be Life at Ten? The six year old mare was a force on the front end last year and dominated a very good mare in Unrivalled Belle, twice before the Ladies Classic debacle. She won the Ogden Phipps Handicap, the DE Handicap and Beldame. Her only true loss came when she locked horse with Rachel Alexandra in the Personal Ensign.
Blind Luck will certainly be a fan favorite to take over the division. The plucky little filly with a nose for the wire is all class and all game. She nosed out the versatile Evening Jewel in the Oaks and the speedy Havre de Grace in the Alabama. She can run on anything anywhere and seems to enjoy giving her fans a heart attack as she closes, literally, just in the nick of time.
What about Devil May Care? She is a brilliant filly, who is, unfortunately, inconsistent. She loses her debut in 2010, blows away a talented field in the Bonnie Miss, runs 10th in the Derby, strings together two impressive victories in the Mother Goose and Coaching Club American Oaks, then finally runs a dull fourth against Blind Luck in the Alabama. Now the Derby was against colts and she was found to have Hepatitis after the Alabama, but that still leaves her dull 2010 debut. On her best day, she's as good as any if not better, but the challenge is finding out when exactly her good day's are.
Fillies and mares like Unrivalled Belle, Havre de Grace, Switch and Evening Jewel could also jump up to steel the spotlight. Havre de Grace will have to get out of Blind Luck's shadow, Unrivalled Belle will have to prove she's a champ outside of Churchill Downs, Evening Jewel may decide turf is for her as Switch could very well stick to sprinting.
So out of all the scratching, clawing, kicking and biting, who do I think will emerge top dog? I pick the little big girl with a big time Napoleon complex. The little filly knows how to get it done. She is and always will be a champion. She gives a whole new meaning to the saying, "where there is a will there is a way." Blind Luck showed us just how talented, brilliant, and game she was all in one season. I don't see that picture changing this year.