ELMONT, NY – La Providencia’s Argentinian homebred Hi Happy became a Grade/Group 1 winner on multiple continents on Saturday, running off $700,000 Man o’ War Stakes at Belmont Park.
Breaking sharply from post 7 under Luis Saez as the 9-5 favorite, Hi Happy fought One Go All Go for the early lead before conceding and setlling in second as the field headed into the first turn. One Go All Go opened up through the turn and down the backside while setting splits of :23.95, :49.50, and 1:15.15. Nearing the far turn, the pack closed in on One Go All Go, with Hi Happy and fellow Argentinian Catcho En Die leading the chase. One Go All Go was able to hold off his foes until midstretch, but Hi Happy proved to be too much. The Todd Pletcher trainee took command from One Go All Go, then held off a late rally from Sadler’s Joy in the final stages to win by 3/4 of a length in a final time of 2:14.79 for the 1 3/8-mile marathon event over the inner turf course.
“He was perfect,” said Saez. “He broke pretty good, pretty clean, sharp. He was right there in the perfect position. We had a feeling we would be right there, but everything came so well. When we came to the 3/8 (pole), he was ready to run. I felt the other horses coming, but he never gave up. He was always trying, so I just kept going with him and he finished very strongly.”
One Go All Go held on well enough for third, finishing a length past Call Provision. Catcho En Die edged out Postulation for fifth, while Bigger Picture and Wake Forest completed the order of finish. Scholar Athlete and Money Multiplier completed the order of finish.
Hi Happy’s win improved his career record to 13-8-0-2, while the $375,000 winner’s share pushed his career earnings into the seven-digit timezone, which now total $1,092,961. Prior to shipping stateside in 2016, the 6-year-old son of Pure Prize was undefeated in six starts (four of them Group 1s) in his homeland.
“It was just a perfect trip, exactly what we were hoping for,” said Pletcher. “He delivered a big performance. We’re very proud of him. We’ll see how he bounces out of it.”
Hi Happy returned $5.90 to win, $3.20 to place, and $2.30 to show. Sadler’s Joy brought back $3.40 to place and $2.60 to show, while One Go All Go paid $3.60 to show.