Her Smile, third in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) when last seen, will make her season debut for her new connections Feb. 19 in the $150,000 Hurricane Bertie (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park.
Purchased for $1 million after the Breeders’ Cup at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall 2011 mixed sale by Frank Stronach, Her Smile will begin her 4-year-old season as the 123-pound high weight in the 6 1/2-furlong Hurricane Bertie. A field of seven was drawn, including recent restricted stakes winner R Holiday Mood, who is trained by the meet’s runaway leader Todd Pletcher.
Pletcher used to train likely favorite Her Smile for Bobby Flay. Her Smile is now in the barn of Chad Brown.
A daughter of Include, Her Smile was purchased privately by Flay in April after she finished second in the Comely (gr. III) at Aqueduct. She went on to win just once for him, but it was a big one, as she scored the grade I Prioress Stakes at Belmont. The filly was beaten just 1 1/4 lengths in the BC Filly & Mare Sprint after a less than ideal trip.
Brown has secured leading rider Javier Castellano to ride Her Smile, who was bred in Virginia by William Backer.
“She’s trained great,” said Brown. “I’m really looking forward to running her. I think we’ll keep her in one-turn races this year.”
Pletcher will send out E. Paul Robsham’s homebred R Holiday Mood in hopes of banking yet another stakes win at the current Gulfstream meet. The 4-year-old Trippi filly won the one-mile Ocala Stakes on Jan. 8, a race for Florida-breds. Last year, R Holiday Mood won three times in five starts including the Miss Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. John Velazquez will have the call.
Jockey Luis Contreras and trainer Brian Lynch will again team up with Terra Di Sienna Stables’ Pica Slew after a game runner-up effort behind Pomeroys Pistol in the six-furlong Sugar Swirl Stakes (gr. III) Dec. 10. The race was her first in 11 months and her first for Lynch, who won the Hurricane Bertie in 2008.
Belle of the Hall and Strike the Moon finished one-two, separated by only a half-length, in a 6 1/2- furlong allowance at Gulfstream on Jan. 20. Belle of the Hall was turning back from a disappointing fifth-place effort going two turns in the Elmer Heubeck Distaff at Calder in November. Elvis Trujillo rides Belle of the Hall for trainer Tom Albertrani.
Strike the Moon finished third in the Sugar Swirl before the aforementioned allowance race. The 4-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon scored her biggest victory in the $400,000 Charles Town Oaks going seven furlongs around two turns in September after another big effort when second by a head in the Delaware Oaks (gr. II) in July.
$150,000 Hurricane Bertie (gr. III, Race 10, 4:45 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 4 & Up, 6 1/2 Furlongs PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Pica Slew (FL), L Contreras, 117, B A Lynch
2. Belle of the Hall (FL), E Trujillo, 117, T Albertrani
3. R Holiday Mood (FL), J R Velazquez, 117, T A Pletcher
4. Strike the Moon (KY), E S Prado, 117, M J Trombetta
5. Funny Sunny (KY), K J Desormeaux, 117, R B Hess Jr.
6. Ms Vanenzza (KY), R Maragh, 117, J C Vazquez
7. Her Smile (VA), J Castellano, 123, C C Brown