12/11/2011 6:04PM

Gulfstream: Irish filly Thai Haku scores first U.S. victory in South Beach


HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla .-  Chad Brown said he had a pretty good teacher when it came to taking European imports and winning races in the U.S.  That teacher was the late Bobby Frankel and he would have been proud of the job Brown has done with Thai Haku, an Irish-bred filly who rallied to a 1 /4-length victory over the 45-1 Hooh Why in Sunday’s $60,000 South Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Brown took over Thai Haku’s training from Mikel Delzangles following her second-place finish in Belmont’s Grade 3 Noble Damsel late this past summer in New York. Thai Haku had made one previous start for Brown prior to the 7 1/2-furlong South Beach, finishing third over a yielding course in Belmont’s Athenia on Oct. 15.

Thai Haku benefitted from a perfectly judged ride from Julien Leparoux, rating within easy striking distance just off the early pace before angling three wide into the stretch and readily wearing down Hooh Why near midstretch. Hooh Why  attended the pace from the outset, took control in early stretch,  but proved no match for the winner while finishing a half-length in front of Trip for A.J.

Thai Haku, a daughter of Oasis Dream, is owned by the TYB Stable. She completed the distance in 1:31.29 over a good course and paid $7.20 as the tepid favorite in a strong field of 11 filly and mare grass specialists.

“She got a beautiful ride and a beautiful trip,” said Brown, who served as Frankel’s assistant before going out on his own in 2007. “I had a good teacher and we have a good system in place for the European horses that come into our barn.  There’s also a lot of leeway in the program I learned. It’s simply a matter of getting these horses to adapt and Americanize themselves. I probably ran her back a little too soon in her last start and the yielding course was not for her that day.  Although the course was listed as good today it was good footing and a lot firmer than what she’s used to.”

Brown said Thai Haku would likely make her next start in the Grade 3 Marshua’s River here on  Jan. 7.