There's probably no way that Saturday's $750,000 Fitz Dixon Cotillion Stakes can live up to the race's 2010 edition, but that's all right, because there have not been many rivalries in the modern history of Thoroughbred racing to match the one 4-year-old fillies Blind Luck and Havre de Grace have going. Last year's Cotillion marked the third race in which that epic duo met, and when Havre de Grace prevailed by a neck, it was the first time she had taken the measure of Blind Luck.
The big two in the 2011 Cotillion don't stand so tall as Blind Luck and Havre de Grace, but It's Tricky and Plum Pretty did some battling of their own this summer at Saratoga, and these two are the headliners among six sophomore fillies that were entered in the Grade 2, 1 1/16-mile dirt race when entries for Saturday's card were taken Monday at Parx Racing. Also entered in the Cotillion were two horses from trainer Todd Pletcher, Love and Pride and Buster's Ready, while Blind Luck's trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer, sends Halo Dolly in from Northern California. Completing the lineup is Daring Reality, who figures to be the race's longest price.
It's Tricky and Plum Pretty both still have a shot at year-end championship honors in the 3-year-old filly division, but if either or both lose Saturday, they're probably out of that contest. Plum Pretty's signature victory this year came in the Kentucky Oaks, which she won a neck over St. John's River, but Plum Pretty could not contain It's Tricky when the two met in the Coaching Club American Oaks on July 23 at Saratoga, where It's Tricky pushed past pacesetting Plum Pretty in the final furlong to win by a three-quarters of a length. Neither horse proved any match for the ascendant Royal Delta in the 1 1/4-mile Personal Ensign on Aug. 20, with It's Tricky hanging on for a distant second while Plum Pretty faded to fourth. The turn back to a middle distance Saturday should aid both fillies.
Busters Ready finished fourth in the Coaching Club, but won the Grade 1 Mother Goose around one turn at Belmont earlier this year. Pletcher's other horse, Love and Pride, makes her graded stakes debut, but has won two straight starts by 15 lengths combined. Halo Dolly brings in a five-race winning streak compiled against lesser opposition.