Madeleine Paulson, widow of multiple Eclipse Award-winning breeder and owner Allen Paulson, helped rekindle images of her late husband's greatest champion at Del Mar on Monday when Life's Pleasures, a 3-year-old half sister to two-time Horse of the Year Cigar, closed with a rush to break her maiden going one mile.
Life's Pleasures, by Deputy Minister out of Solar Slew, by Seattle Slew, was coming off a third-place showing at Hollywood Park for trainer Simon Bray. She settled well off the pace under Corey Nakatani, having just one horse beat with a half-mile to run, then commenced her rally on the final turn, saving ground into the lane and swinging out for the stretch run. She caught front-running Saintly Persuasion inside the furlong pole and drew out to win by five lengths, stopping the clock in 1:37.70 for the mile.
"This is a special filly, for obvious reasons," Paulson said after the race. "She showed us today that she's got a lot of class and a lot of ability."
The 11th foal out of Solar Slew, Life's Pleasures is the seventh starter and seventh winner. Life's Pleasures was bred by Allen and Madeleine Paulson and races for the partnership of Madeleine Paulson and the Mercedes Stable of Ernie Moody, whose black, white and red silks were carried to victory. Moody, a relative newcomer to racing, owns a number of horses in partnership with Paulson and has other horses in his own name with trainers Bruce Headley and Vladimir Cerin, including grade II winner Publication.
Two hours after the victory, Paulson hosted a surprise birthday party for her racing partner, starting at a nearby cinema that she rented for a private showing of the new movie Seabiscuit and later at her Del Mar beach house. A movie poster in the lobby had been edited slightly to show the mustachioed Moody aboard Seabiscuit, replacing Tobey Maguire in the saddle.