BALTIMORE, MD – Trainer/breeder Wesley Ward’s Happy Like a Fool took command early and refused to relinquish it, wiring the field in Friday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Adena Springs Miss Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course.
Breaking sharply along the rail under Tyler Gaffalione, Happy Like a Fool was pressured early to her outside by Artistic Diva while leading through fractions of :23.06 and :46.13. Beginning to kick away at the top of the stretch, Gaffalione released his hold and urged her to increase her advantage. The pair hit the wire first by 6 1/2 lengths in a final time of 1:10.12 for the 6-furlong sprint over the sloppy (sealed) main track.
“She broke really well,” Gaffalione said. “I just chased her out of there to get position. When I asked her at the top of the lane, she really responded. Wesley did a good job of having her ready.”
Though she faded in the stretch, Artistic Diva managed to hold on for second, crossing 3/4 of a length ahead of Buy Sell Hold. Another 4 1/2 lengths back, Bootsy’s Hadenough took fourth ahead of Lezendary and Good Move. The rest of the field came across as I Still Miss You, Almond Roca, and Purrfect Miss. The track conditions caused Limited View to scratch.
Happy Like a Fool’s win was her second Grade 3 score following the Matron Stakes last fall at Belmont Park and increased her overall record to 6-3-1-0. The 3-year-old daughter of Distorted Humor now carries a bankroll of $257,697 for owners Merriebelle Stable, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Mrs. John Magnier.
“It’s pretty sloppy; it’s not the worst thing and she could handle it,” Gaffalione said of the track’s racing conditions. “You have to pay attention to the bias. It seems like it is changing every race. One race is speed, then another race they are coming off the pace. It’s pretty fair – you just have to pay attention.”
Happy Like a Fool returned $10.40 to win, $5 to place, and $4 to show. Artistic Diva brought back $7.40 to place and $6 to show, while Buy Sell Hold paid $9 to show.