Happy My Way wins the 2014 Maryland Sprint Handicap. <br><a target="blank" href="http://photos.bloodhorse.com/AtTheRaces-1/At-the-Races-2014/i-LfP4qMV">Order This Photo</a>

Happy My Way wins the 2014 Maryland Sprint Handicap.
Order This Photo

Anne M. Eberhardt

Happy My Way Heads Sunshine Millions Sprint

Son of Wilko set to make 2015 debut Jan. 17 at Gulfstream Park.

Happy My Way is set to make his 2015 debut in the $100,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint Jan. 17 at Gulfstream Park, where the 5-year-old gelding developed into a stakes-placed performer last season.

Trained by Joe Orseno, Happy My Way won three of four starts over Gulfstream's main track after being switched from turf to dirt last season, capturing a pair of optional claiming allowance sprints and the $100,000 Sir Shackleton Stakes. The son of Wilko went on to win the Maryland Sprint Handicap (gr. III) at Pimlico Race Course on Preakness Day and finish second after setting the pace in the Vanderbilt (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course.

"He likes this track," Orseno said. "The plan has been to run him here a couple times and get him ready for that sprint on Preakness Day."

After setting the early pace and fading to sixth in the Vosburgh (gr. I) at Belmont Park, Happy My Way was rated off the pace in the $350,000 Frank DeFrancis Dash at Laurel Park on Nov. 15, finishing a game second behind Zee Bros.

"I always thought he would rate. Paco Lopez, when he was riding him, always said he would rate and you don't need to send him. In the DeFrancis, we decided he'd have no chance if we sent him out of there from the inside. He ran a giant race," said Orseno, who has given the return mount to Joe Bravo for the six-furlong Sprint.

Happy My Way, who finished second in last season's Sunshine Millions Sprint after breaking from the one hole, drew the rail again for Saturday's race.

The Stanley Gold-trained Grande Shores has also shown a fondness for the Gulfstream strip, over which he has been no worse than second in his seven starts while winning three times. The 7-year-old son of Black Mambo, who drew the post directly outside Happy My Way, is coming off back-to-back wins in the $110,000 Claiming Crown Rapid Transit and a starter allowance test at Gulfstream.

"He's as good as he's been. I'd like to think he can get better and better, but he's good right now. I wish it were at seven furlongs," Gold said. "The timing is right. He'd be in an open stake if there was one. He's on top of his game. I just hope, at six furlongs, no one gets away and gets an easy lead."

Grande Shores is a half-brother to multiple grade I-stakes winner and millionaire Jackson Bend.

"They both have durability and the 'keep-on-coming' trait. They don't quit. They're both stocky well-built horses. Grande is bigger than Jackson was, but they're both broad and solid on their feet," said Gold, who trains Grade Shores for owner/breeder Jacks or Better Farm. "Those similarities have to come from the mare, because they have different sires."

Edgard Zayas has the return mount for the Sprint, which attracted a field of seven that includes Sam Sparkle, Yogi Berra, Brothersofthetime, Puntrooskie, and Weekend Hideaway.

Entries: Florida Sunshine Millions Sprint S.

Gulfstream Park, Saturday, January 17, 2015, Race 5

  • STK
  • 6f
  • Dirt
  • $100,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 2:36 PM (local)
11Happy My Way (FL)Joe Bravo117Joseph F. Orseno-
22Grande Shores (FL)Edgard J. Zayas119Stanley I. Gold-
33Sam Sparkle (FL)Joel Rosario117Robert N. Falcone, Jr.-
44Yogi Berra (FL)Edgar S. Prado117Ralph E. Nicks-
55Brothersofthetime (FL)Luis Saez117Antonio Sano-
66Puntrooskie (FL)Rafael Manuel Hernandez117Nicholas Gonzalez-
77Weekend Hideaway (NY)Javier Castellano119Philip M. Serpe-