Tranquility Lake Takes to Dirt in Clement Hirsch

Turf distaff star Tranquility Lake glided over the main track at Del Mar Sunday to win the $294,000 Clement L. Hirsch Handicap (gr. II) by three lengths, continuing a stellar weekend for owners Mr. and Mrs. Martin J. Wygod. On Saturday at Del Mar, three horses bred by the couple scored victories, two of which raced in their colors.

Tranquility Lake broke a bit slowly, then raced up to take the lead from Gourmet Girl on the first turn. Gourmet Girl came off the rail on the backstretch and edged up alongside Tranquility Lake heading into the second turn. Approaching the stretch, Tranquility Lake shook loose from Gourmet Girl and lengthened her lead to the wire, completing the 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.78 on the fast track.

"You know, when we ran this mare on the dirt in the past, we tried to rate her -- and that just doesn't work," said winning jockey Eddie Delahoussaye. "She's a free-running mare and when she's on her game she's double tough. She broke a little flat-footed today and I had to use her to get the lead. But once she made the front she relaxed and we were going along just fine. When Alex (Solis on Gourmet Girl) came up alongside me and tried to put the pressure on, my mare responded. She's awesome. And now with a race like this (winning on dirt), she opens up lots of options for us. There could be bigger and better things ahead."

Gourmet Girl finished second, 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Nany's Sweep. Saudi Poetry was another head-length back to complete the order of finish.

Tranquility Lake returned $6.60 and $2.60. Gourmet Girl paid $2.40. There was no show wagering. The $1 exacta paid $7.20.

Trainer Julio Canani started Tranquility Lake (Rahy--Winters' Love, by Danzig) on the main track with an eye toward the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) at Belmont Park. Last year, Canani saddled Tranquility Lake for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT), in which she finished eighth. Tranquility Lake earned her maiden win on the main track at Hollywood Park, but has had most of her success on turf courses, where she is a multiple grade I winner. She finished third on dirt in the 1998 La Brea Stakes (gr. I), prior to a fourth-place outing in the La Canada Stakes (gr. II) in her last main track appearance previous to the Clement Hirsch. Tranquility Lake earned $180,000 for the win, her 10th in 24 career starts. She was bred in Kentucky by North Central Bloodstock. (Chart, Equibase)