11/02/2012 1:37PM

Aqueduct: Tempted not really an easy spot for My Happy Face

Tom Keyser
The connections of My Happy Face chose to run in Sunday's Tempted rather than the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

The connections of Grade 1 Frizette runner-up My Happy Face opted for the conservative route when they decided to bypass Friday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita for Sunday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Tempted Stakes at Aqueduct.

While they may have found a softer spot for their 2-year-old filly, it is by no means an easy spot.

My Happy Face will take on impressive maiden winners Emollient and Cue the Moon, plus a pair of Todd Pletcher trainees, in the Tempted, a one-turn, one-mile race that shares billing on Aqueduct’s nine-race card with the Grade 2, $200,000 Nashua for juvenile colts.

First post Sunday is 12:20 p.m. Eastern and the Tempted goes as race 5.

My Happy Face, a daughter of Tiz Wonderful, won a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race by 21 1/4 lengths at Saratoga on Aug. 31. Matched up against Dreaming of Julia in the Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont on Oct. 6, My Happy Face set the pace along the inside, stalked by Dreaming of Julia. The two hooked up leaving the half-mile pole and were inseparable to the wire, with Dreaming of Julia – who was to run in Friday’s Juvenile Fillies – prevailing by a head.

Owner Michael Dubb didn’t want to ship My Happy Face cross-country off such a hard race so he elected to keep the filly home. Trainer Rudy Rodriguez said he believes the filly is training well leading up to the Tempted, but would have liked a little more time between races.

“I’m not going to second-guess myself. You would like to have a little more time especially with that race she ran in Belmont,” Rodriguez said. “She lost a little weight after the last race. Let’s hope we’re doing the right thing. I’m happy with the way she’s coming into the race.”

Cue the Moon and Emollient finished one-two in a seven-furlong maiden race at Saratoga on Sept. 2. Cue the Moon, a big, lanky daughter of Malibu Moon, overcame some traffic and had to alter course in order to prevail. Trainer James Bond said he believes the farther the better for her.

“She’s an awfully, awfully talented filly,” Bond said. “She’s pretty big. You watch her last race, it looked like she was wanting to go a mile.”

Emollient, a daughter of Empire Maker, came out of her half-length loss to Cue the Moon to win a seven-furlong maiden race by 2 3/4 lengths at Belmont, earning a gaudy Beyer Speed Figure of 98.

“I thought she might do that the first time. She got left at the gate,” trainer Bill Mott said. “She ran into Bond’s filly, who turned out to be a pretty good filly.”

Though Jose Lezcano won on Emollient, Mott will put Junior Alvarado back on her Sunday. Alvarado rode Emollient first time, but missed a month due to a fractured collarbone sustained on a Mott-trained horse so Mott gave him the mount back.

Lezcano picks up the mount on Cue the Moon because Ramon Dominguez, who rode Cue the Moon in her debut, is committed to ride My Happy Face.

Pletcher sends out the uncoupled entry of Kimono, who comes off a third-place finish in the Blue Hen Stakes at Delaware, and Unabashed, a good-looking maiden winner at Saratoga, who finished fourth to Kauai Katie in the Grade 2 Matron.

Ruby Lips, second to Unabashed before winning a maiden race at Belmont on Sept. 16, completes the field.