June 24, 2024

Happy Like a Fool draws off for Miss Preakness triumph

Happy Like a Fool and jockey Tyler Gaffalione capture the Miss Preakness Stakes (G3) at Pimlico on Friday, May 18, 2018 (c) Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club

Despite a sloppy, sealed track, Happy Like a Fool and jockey Tyler Gaffalione entered the Pimlico winner’s circle looking nearly as crisp and clean as they did when first stepping hoof on the surface for Friday’s $150,000 Miss Preakness Stakes (G3).

That was thanks to a front-running triumph by the Distorted Humor filly in the six-furlong contest. Happy Like a Fool took command soon after the start, established splits of :23.06, :46.13 and :57.90, then drew off in the lane to stop the clock in 1:10.12.

Sent off the 4-1 third choice, the three-year-old chestnut paid $10.40 for the win after finishing 6 1/2 lengths in front of Artistic Diva. That runner suffered her first loss in this spot while competing outside of California for the first time.

It was another three parts of a length back to 34-1 longshot Buy Sell Hold, who was followed under the wire by Bootsy’s Hadenough, Lezendary, 8-5 favorite Good Move, I Still Miss You, Almond Roca and Purrfect Miss.

Campaigned by Merriebelle Stables, Michael B. Tabor, Derrick Smith and Mrs. John Magnier, Happy Like a Fool is now 6-3-1-0 in her career having banked $257,691 in lifetime earnings.

The Wesley Ward trainee broke her maiden by four lengths in her debut at Keeneland in April 2017 then shipped overseas for a shot at Royal Ascot’s Queen Mary Stakes (Eng-G2). The chestnut miss ran second in that June 21 contest and then suffered her worse effort to date when sixth in the Lowther Stakes (Eng-G2) at York on August 24.

Returning to the states, Happy Like a Fool rounded out her juvenile campaign with a 2 1/4-length victory in the October 15 Matron Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park. She wouldn’t be seen again in competition until finishing fourth last out in the Beaumont Stakes (G3) at Keeneland on April 8.

Bred in Kentucky by her trainer, Happy Like a Fool is out of the Sky Mesa mare Lastofthsummerwine, making her a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Conquest Panthera and Grade 2-placed Maniacal. Her third dam is Grade 2 vixen Clef d’Argent, who produced Grade 1 winners Nine Keys and Silver Voice. That mare is herself a half-sibling to Grade 1-winning sire French Colonial, and this female family also includes multiple Group 1 queen Midway Lady.

MISS PREAKNESS STAKES QUOTES

Tyler Gaffalione, jockey Happy Like a Fool, winner

“She broke really well. I just chased her out of there to get position. When I asked her at the top of the lane, she really responded. (Trainer) Wesley (Ward) did a good job of having her ready.

“It’s pretty sloppy; it’s not the worst thing and she could handle it. You have to pay attention to the (track) 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.”

Javier Castellano, jockey Artistic Diva, second

“She had a perfect trip; we followed procedure. My horse kept her speed. We were head to head with the winner. At the quarter-pole the winner took off and opened up. I just took care in second place. I believe my filly ran so good, just second best today.”

Luis Saez, jockey Good Move, sixth

“She broke running, but when she felt that muck, she wasn’t really happy.”