Favored Tranquility Lake received no respite from a pair of Bobby Frankel trainees in Saturday's $221,350 Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park. After Frankel-trained High Walden took the front-running Tranquility Lake out of her game early on, stablemate Happyanunoit rallied in the stretch to win by a head.
High Walden set moderate early fractions under Alex Solis (:24.47 and :48), but would yield neither the lead nor her inside position to the even-money favorite. The two ran the opening six furlongs in 1:11.25, with High Walden still a half-length in front. Under Eddie Delahoussaye, Tranquility Lake took the lead into the stretch, but High Walden proved tough and the Julio Canani trainee could only inch clear. When High Walden finally tired in the stretch, Happyanunoit, who saved ground through the early going before rallying three-wide into the stretch, was ready to attack the leader and earned the narrow victory.
"I thought I had 'em at the sixteenth pole, but in about the last four strides I could feel my mare shortening strides a little bit, and we just got nodded at the wire," said Delahoussaye. "I don't think the two Frankel horses tried to gang up on me. I had a feeling one of 'em was going to do something, but my mare was relaxed."
Happyanunoit, who raced under three less pounds than the favorite, completed the 1 1/8 miles under jockey Brice Blanc in 1:47.34 on firm turf. Beautiful Noise finished third, a half-length behind Tranquility Lake. High Walden came home fourth, followed by Kalypso Katie, Eurolink Raindance, and Rare Charmer.
"It was just very exciting to be able to ride her again because she is amazing," Blanc said. "She is just the best race horse I've ever been on. I don't know what it is, but she has always been very good to me. We have never been worse than second together. I was very happy with my position today. At the sixteenth pole, I thought I had a good chance to beat Tranquility Lake because I know what kind of kick my mare has and she knows where the wire is."
Amerman Racing Stables' Happyanunoit returned $12.60, $4.20, and $3. Tranquility Lake paid $2.60 and $2.20. Beautiful Noise was worth $3 to show. The $1 exacta returned $13.90.
Frankel, who earned his fifth Gamely win Saturday, said: "She's been the soundest she's been in a year and a half. Her feet were really good. Brice was very happy with her the last two times he breezed her. He said she's back. Looking at her physically, I thought she was doing really well. And like I tell people, if she gallops strong in the morning, then she's good. And she galloped strong. Two mornings ago, I had a good boy on her, and it was all he could do to hold her."
Happyanunoit's (Yachtie--Easter Queen, by Rajah) most recent race prior to the Gamely was at Hollywood Park in November, when she finished third in the Matriarch (gr. IT) behind Tout Charmant and Tranquility Lake. Her last win came at Hollywood Park last July, when she won the Beverly Hills Handicap (gr. IT) by three lengths. Happyanunoit earned $115,710 for the win, her ninth in 20 career starts. J. D. Corcoran bred the 6-year-old mare in New Zealand. (Chart, Equibase