11/04/2012 5:03PM

Aqueduct: My Happy Face works hard to get job done in Tempted

Jessica Hansen/NYRA
Cue the Moon (4) comes up a neck shy of catching My Happy Face and jockey Ramon Dominguez in the Tempted for 2-year-old fillies.

My Happy Face, who was nipped in the Frizette after a race-long battle with Dreaming of Julia, was involved in a second straight alley fight in Sunday’s Tempted Stakes at Aqueduct, and prevailed by a hard-fought neck over second choice Cue the Moon.

My Happy Face ($2.60) was the prohibitive favorite with Ramon Dominguez in a four-filly renewal of the Grade 3 Tempted, but was hounded every step of the way by Cue the Moon through fast fractions of 22.48 and 44.87 seconds.

Positioned along the rail, just as she had been in the Frizette, My Happy Face was a head in front at the quarter pole after six furlongs in 1:09.78, and dug down deep to win a head-bob decision by a short neck.

“She didn’t get any breather today, but being on the inside when the other filly went to press me, I really had no choice,” said Dominguez, who won three races on the card. “It was a pretty good battle turning for home. The other filly didn’t give up and neither did mine.”

My Happy Face ran one mile in 1:36.32 over a fast track, and earned $90,000 for owner Michael Dubb, who passed on the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in favor of this spot at her home track.

“I thought it was going to be an easy race, but it came up tougher than we expected,” said winning trainer Rudy Rodriguez. “We were thinking about going to California, but I think we did the right thing by staying here, because they ran very, very big over there.”

Cue the Moon, a debut winner at Saratoga who was making just her second career start for trainer Jim Bond, was second by better than six lengths over Ruby Lips. Unabashed was a distant fourth.

Emollient, the morning-line favorite at 7-5, was an early scratch, as was Kimono.