SOUTH OZONE PARK, NY – M and A Racing’s Happy Farm continued his rapid ascension up the ranks on Sunday, winning his stakes debut in the $200,000 Fall Highweight Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct.
Breaking from the far outside post 7 at 7/1 odds under Jorge Vargas, Jr., Happy Farm got bumped slightly when Seethisquick broke outwardly into him. Recovering quickly, Happy Farm soon dueled with early leader Strike Power through opening fractions of :22.55 and :45.96.
Beginning to inch ahead midway through the far turn, Vargas, Jr., peeked back for a status report on the 1/2 favorite Recruiting Ready, who was just behind him but lacking running room. Unleashed at the 1/16 pole, Happy Farm dug deep and withstood a late push from Wonderful Light.
Holding on gamely, the Jason Servis trainee crossed 3/4 of a length in front while completing the 6-furlong sprint over the fast main track in a final time of 1:11.91.
“My horse broke quick and the assistant (trainer Henry Argueta) told me he was going to be sharp,” said Vargas, Jr. “I just tried to relax him. By the turn, he was going quick, but he was relaxed. I smooched at him a little bit and he jumped on it right away. When they came to me, I had something to fight back with.”
Wonderful Light crossed a 1/2-length clear of Recruiting Ready, whose less-than-ideal trip seemed to be his undoing late. Seethisquick finished fourth, while Strike Power faded to fifth, a neck ahead of No Distortion, to complete the order of finish. Nicodemus was scratched.
Happy Farm’s win was his fourth straight and improved his record to 5-4-1-0 since Servis claimed him for $30,000 in March. The 5-year-old gelded son of Ghostzapper now sports an overall record of 19-8-4-2 with $398,888 earned.
Happy Farm returned $16.40 to win, $6 to place, and $3.30 to show. Wonderful Light brought back $5.30 to place and $2.80 to show, while Recruiting Ready paid $2.10 to show.