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Indian Blessing – sharp Golden Shaheen contender
by Handicappers / Globeform
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A winner of nine of her twelve races, Indian Blessing is the sharpest filly in North America, and she is also one of the toughest thoroughbreds around, regardless of age, sex or distance preference.

Trained by Bob Baffert, who saddled Silver Charm to win the Dubai World Cup (G1) in 1998, Indian Blessing was top class both at two and three, and she won again when given an early start to her four-year-old campaign at Santa Anita late last year.

Nedless to say, this girl will be among the favourites when she goes for the Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) on March 28.

Indian Blessing was last seen in action in the 7-furlong La Brea Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita on December 27, and will thus be coming off a three-month break when facing the boys over the straight course at Nad Al Sheba on World Cup night. Displaying her blistering speed, the daughter of Indian Charlie won the La Brea by 1 ˝ lengtts from the outsider Ginger Prop. It was another fine success for Baffert’s filly, but the race was marred by a serious injury to Indyanne, her most likely threat. As the latter was pulled up in midstretch, Indian Blessing did not have to produce her very best to earn $150,000, bringing her total earnings up to $2.437,200. That is an average of $203,100 per race.

Fast and precocious, Indian Blessing was quick to make her mark, winning all her three races as a juvenile, when she graduated directly from a debut win to two Grade One wins. She took the one-mile Frizette Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park, winning by 4 ˝ lengths over a fast track, before clinching an Eclipse Award by leading every step of the way in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Monmouth Park, a race staged over 8.5 furlongs over a sloppy track. She won that by 3 ˝ lengths from Proud Spell, who also developed into a champion the following year.

The two were to meet again as three-year-olds. Indian Blessing’s connections set out on a mission to get her to the Kentucky Oaks (G1) last spring, but 9 furlongs was never going to be her cup of tea. She simply has too much speed for such a trip and, after losing the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) – to the eventual Kentucky Oaks winner Proud Spell – Indian Blessing defected from the fillies’ classic at Churchill Downs. She returned in the Acorn Stakes (G1) over a mile at Belmont Park in June, but had to settle for second again, this time behind Zaftig. That was almost certainly the last time we saw her over further than seven furlongs. Beffert dropped her right back to sprinting, and Indian Blessing responded with facile wins in the Test Stakes (G1) at Saratoga and Gallant Bloom Handicap (G2) at Belmont Park. Having won these two events by a combined 13 ˝ lengths, she went off favourite for the 7-furlong Breeders’ Cup Fillies & Mares Sprint at Santa Anita last October. She was beaten 4 lengths by Ventura, but full marks to Indian Blessing, who had three factors working against her; firstly the distance, as she is clearly at her better over six furlongs, secondly the pace scenario, as the Filly & Mare Sprint was loaded with early speed. That was bound to make life hard for a prominent runner, and at the same time play the cards favourably for a closer like Ventura. Ventura herself was the third, and obviously most important, factor leading to Indian Blessing’s defeat. Ventura is also a top class performer.

It will be very interesting to see Indian Blessing over a straight course. She has so much early speed, and one would think that Nad Al Sheba is going to suit her style. She also has plenty of experience on her side, having run well when shipped around to various venue in North America, so that this is her first trip abroad should not be a worry. Indian Blessing has produced high-class form at Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, Santa Anita, Fair Grounds and Saratoga. In all probability, we can add Nad Al Sheba to that list after the Golden Shaheen.

Published: 2009-03-17 06:05:02

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