#7 – The Gallant Bloom


There was really only one question heading into the Gallant Bloom: Is Indian Blessing finished?  After a star-studded sixteeen months where she won nine times, including seven graded stakes races, the daugher of Indian Charlie entered the Gallant Bloom winless in three starts in 2009.  Her most recent outing was a 2nd place finish in the Ballerina where she showed signs of returning to form.  However, the skeptics were certain that her best days were behind her.


Without question, there were only two horses that could win the Gallant Bloom.  The aforementioned Indian Blessing entered as the likely favorite as she was looking for her second straight Gallant Bloom and her eighth win around one turn in her illustrious career.  She was to meet some pace pressure from Thunders Dove, an improving mare from the barn of Nick Zito who had most recently won a lesser event at Saratoga.  Based on what we had seen in the past from Indian Blessing, she was supposed to win this race with anything near her best.

Sara Louise entered the Gallant Bloom as an expected co-favorite with Indian Blessing.  She returned from a long layoff to win the Victory Ride over a sloppy track at Saratoga, showing no ill effects from a winter, spring, and summer spent on the sidelines.  She showed signs of brilliance as a 2YO as she is still the last horse to beat Rachel Alexandra when she downed her in the Pocahontas at Churchill way back in November 2008.  With this being only her second start off the long break, Rick Mettee, the Godolphin assistant trainer based in America, hinted at some concern when he said before the Gallant Bloom: ““In a perfect world, we’d probably keep her against three-year old fillies.” 


The Gallant Bloom exceeded expectations as it was an absolutely riveting horse race with the elder Indian Blessing getting the better of Sara Louise in a stretch-long battle.  She showed the heart and tremendous resolve that had made her a superstar as a 2 and 3YO.  Her jockey, John Velazquez, told Dave Grening of the DRF afterwards, “Wow, my God! he said. She put everything she could into that. The other one kept coming at her and she just kept fighting on. It was a gutsy, gutsy effort.”  Mettee, who had showed some concern about whether his filly could handle Indian Blessing before the Gallant Bloom said afterwards, “I didn t think she’d get beat today, she was training that well.  The other filly showed her class.”


Indian Blessing was pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, a race that she ran 2nd in a year before.  Trainer Bob Baffert expressed some concern about whether she was adequately handling the Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita and pulled the plug on her bid for a 2nd Breeders’ Cup win about ten days prior.  Sara Louise finished 4th, well behind the tough duo of Informed Decision and Ventura in the Filly and Mare Sprint.  She did, however, rebound to beat elders in the Top Flight at Aqueduct on Thanksgiving weekend and is supposed to be back in 2010.


Enjoy the Gallant Bloom:

Join us tomorrow as the countdown rolls on when we recap the 6th best NY race of 2009!


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