More Happy Headlines Talented Spinaway Field
by Jason Shandler
Date Posted: 8/31/2007 6:30:59 PM
Last Updated: 9/2/2007 12:12:33 PM

More Happy Headlines the Spinaway.
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Photo: Coglianese Photos

It's still early in the 2-year-old season, but it seems Bob Baffert already has a slight leg up on the rest of the competition with his pair of good-looking prospects, both by 2002 Juvenile champion Vindication.

One of them, More Happy, will headline a field of 10 in the 116th running of the $250,000 Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 2 at Saratoga, the nation’s first Grade I event of the year for 2-year-olds.

Bred in Kentucky by Gaines-Gentry Thoroughbreds, More Happy is two-for-two thus far, winning by three-quarters of a length in the Adirondack Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga Aug. 15, just a month after breaking her maiden on the Del Mar Polytrack. Out of Cool Victor mare Apelia, the bay filly was purchased by John Sikura for $1 million at the 2007 Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-year-olds in training sale.

Like all the starters, the seven-furlong Spinaway will be More Happy’s longest test as of yet. Rafael Bejarano will ride.

Baffert’s other promising 2-year-old is Maimonides, who, after winning by 11 1/2-lengths in her debut, will try the $250,000 Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Sept. 3.

Although More Happy has looked impressive so far, by no means is she the only talented filly in this tough field. Another contender is West Point Stables' and Lewis Lakin’s Irish Smoke, who won a five-furlong maiden sprint by 2 1/4-lenghts in her first start.

A daughter of Smoke Glacken-Added Time, Irish Smoke had plenty left as she crossed the wire in her initial effort. She worked a half-mile on Saratoga’s main track in :47 Aug. 27 to prep for the Spinaway.

“I’m cautiously optimistic about going seven furlongs this time,” trainer Patrick Biancone said.  “Going from five furlongs to seven furlongs is a big jump, but she was able to relax in her first race. Some horses are professional from the first day you get them in the barn, and some aren’t.  She’s one of those horses that was a professional from the first day.”

Also in the mix are A to the Croft and Passion, who finished second and third, respectively, in the Adirondack. A to the Croft, by Menifee, out of Heart Warmer, started from the rail, was bumped at the start and found herself 4 1/2 lengths back of More Happy at the top of the stretch before showing terrific late speed. She lost by only three-quarters of a length for trainer Ken McPeek.

“The winner had everything fall her way,” McPeek said of More Happy. “The comment in the (Daily) Racing Form for us says, ‘Bumped start, bobbled.’ They didn’t have enough space to put six-wide. If that stuff didn’t happen, she probably wins, regardless.

“I did not like being in the one-hole at all. Hopefully this time she’ll have a little cleaner trip and she’ll have more ground.  If she’s good enough, she’ll get there.”

Passion, trained by Todd Pletcher, was also bumped at the start and well back at the top of the lane in the Adirondack before showing a nice finishing kick. The daughter of Came Home-Rajmata lost by only a length-and-a-half.

Also in that Adirondack field was Phantom Income, a good-looking filly by Montbrook out of Catch the Ghost. Going off as the favorite, she broke very poorly after a problem with the starting gate. She finished well back in ninth but was ultimately declared a non-starter. Before that, the Richard Violette-trained filly won her maiden debut at Belmont by 10 1/4 lengths.

Morakami, Predate, Salty Wave, Yonagucci and Blitzing round of the field. All horses will carry 119 pounds.

$250,000 Spinaway Stakes (gr. I, Race 10, 5:49 p.m.) Fillies, 2-Year-Olds, Seven Furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Morakami (KY), 119, Edgar S. Prado
2. Salty Wave (FL), 119, Cornelio H. Velasquez
3. A to the Croft (KY), 119, Kent J. Desormeaux
4. Predate (FL), 119, Garrett K. Gomez
5. Yonagucci (FL), 119, Jeffrey Sanchez
6. Irish Smoke (KY), 119, Julien R. Leparoux
7. More Happy (KY), 119, Rafael Bejarano
8. Phantom Income (FL), 119, Eibar Coa
9. Passion (KY), 119, John R. Velazquez
10. Blitzing (FL), 119, Shaun Bridgmohan

 



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