08/18/2004 12:00AM

Brubaker launch pad for King of Happiness


DEL MAR, Calif. - King of Happiness has been fourth in two Grade 1 turf stakes this year - the Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile at Hollywood Park on May 31 and the Eddie Read Handicap here on July 25. In both cases, he rallied from the back of the field to miss by a little more than two lengths.

Friday, King of Happiness can score his first win since an allowance race in May in the $75,000 Harry Brubaker Handicap over 1 1/16 miles on turf at Del Mar. A win could lead to a start in the Grade 1 Atto Mile at Woodbine on Sept. 19.

"Provided he runs well, we'll look at that race," trainer Neil Drysdale said.

rallied from seventh to finish 2 1/4 lengths behind Special Ring in the Eddie Read. Drysdale was not discouraged, considering the first half-mile of the race was run in a slow 47.12 seconds.

"There wasn't much pace in the race," Drysdale said.

The pace should be quicker in the Brubaker, which drew seven entrants. Black Bart, the winner of four stakes this year at Hollywood and Turf Paradise, is likely to set the pace, along with Gondolieri, the winner of the 2003 Inglewood Handicap who has not started since finishing ninth in the Grade 3 Longacres Mile last August.

is making his first start since finishing a well-beaten fourth in the Grade 2 American Handicap at Hollywood Park on July 4. Black Bart raced on the lead when he won the Khaled Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on turf last April and the Quicken Tree Stakes over 1 1/2 miles on turf in June.

"We've freshened him up a bit," trainer Troy Bainum said. "He had a hard campaign for a few months. He's put on weight. He's like a ball of muscle."

Sandi Gann, who has ridden Black Bart to five of his eight wins, regains the mount. She was aboard for the Khaled Stakes, but missed his last three races because of injury.

, who starts from the outside, is trying to win his first stakes since the 2003 Santa Anita Derby. He was fifth in the Wickerr Handicap over a mile on turf July 31, a loss that frustrated trainer Jeff Mullins.

"He has a three-eighths run and he got to run an eighth of a mile," Mullins said. "He has to be in position to make a long run. He doesn't have that turn of foot."