HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – La Providencia’s Hi Happy finally found the American winner’s circle on Saturday, rating well before taking command in the stretch and kicking clear to take the Grade 2, $250,000 Pan American Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Off well from post 3 under Luis Saez, Hi Happy initially matched One Go All Go stride for stride before allowing his foe to take a small lead through opening fractions of :23.96, :49.21, 1:13.79, and 1:38.15 for the opening mile. Applying pressure during the second trip down the back stretch, Hi Happy raced back alongside the leader through the far turn before outdueling him to the top of the stretch. With green grass gleaming ahead of him, Hi Happy kicked clear to win by 2 3/4 lengths in a final time of 2:23.85 for the 1 1/2-mile turf marathon.
“(One Go All Go) was the speed of the race,” Saez said. “Everything went perfect. We sat second. At the 1/2-mile pole, I asked my horse, and he kept battling. When we made the straight, he just took off.”
One Go All Go faded late in the stretch but still held on for second, a 1/2 length past an improving Classic Covey. The 9-5 favorite Sadler’s Joy spent much of the race (as he often does) in the rear before launching a powerful bid off of the far turn, but it was too little, too late. He necked out fourth over Bullards Alley, with Markitoff, Bigger Picture, Tiz a Slam, and Little Nick V. completing the order of finish.
La Providencia’s win was his first since taking the Group 1 Carlos Pellegrini over the San Isidro course in his home country of Argentina. The 6-year-old son of Pure Prize improved his overall record to 12-7-0-2 (6-1-0-2 stateside) with career earnings of $717,961.
“We felt that he ran well at a mile and 1/8 last time (the G1 Gulfstream Park Turf),” Pletcher said. “Today, we felt with that race under his belt, he would perform.”
Hi Happy returned $6.80 to win, $4.60 to place, and $3.80 to show. One Go All Go brought back $9.60 to place and $6 to show, while Classic Covey paid $9 to show.