02/17/2012 12:32PM

Gulfstream Park: Her Smile returns in Hurricane Bertie

Barbara D. Livingston
Her Smile works a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.44 on Feb. 12 at Palm Meadows as she prepares for her return.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Her Smile drew an outside post and paid the price in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, finishing third while beaten just more than a length by eventual Eclipse Award winner Musical Romance after being forced to race wide and losing considerable ground the entire trip.

Her Smile also has drawn an outside post for her 2012 debut, which comes in Sunday’s $150,000 Hurricane Bertie at Gulfstream Park. But with only seven fillies and mares signed on for the Grade 3 dash, post position should prove no obstacle for the Grade 1 winner, who makes her first start for trainer Chad Brown.

According to Trakus, Her Smile travelled 30 feet, or 3 1/2 lengths, further than the rail-skimming Musical Romance in the Filly and Mare Sprint. The outing capped a big 3-year-old campaign for the daughter of Include who captured the Grade 1 Prioress earlier in the season.

Her Smile was trained by Todd Pletcher at 3, but moved to Brown’s barn after being purchased by Frank Stronach for $1 million at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November sale shortly after the Breeders’ Cup. Her Smile has trained forwardly for her return, with a series of sharp workouts at Palm Meadows that included bullet five-furlong drills on Jan. 29 and Feb. 12.

“She’s doing fabulous,” Brown said. “All her works have been really, really good. Given the way she’s been training, I’m not concerned about the layoff and I’m really looking forward to getting her started this year.”

It may be a former stablemate under the Pletcher shed, R Holiday Mood, whom Her Smile will have to catch to win the Hurricane Bertie.

R Holiday Mood is already a winner at the meet, having led throughout before digging in gamely along a deep and tiring rail to dead heat for first with Delightful Mary in the restricted Ocala going a mile Jan, 8. R Holiday Mood, a homebred daughter of Trippi, has now won three stakes in just seven career starts. She finished two lengths behind Her Smile when fourth after setting the pace in last spring’s Comely at Aqueduct.

Pica Slew also figures to have a say in the pace scenario of the Hurricane Bertie, coming off a second-place finish behind Pomeroys Pistol in the Grade 3 Sugar Swirl on Dec. 10. Pica Slew opened a clear lead near midstretch of the six-furlong Sugar Swirl, before proving no match for the classy Pomeroys Pistol who finished fourth in the BC Filly and Mare Sprint.

Pica Slew is currently under the tutelage of Bryan Lynch, the fifth different trainer to have saddled the filly in just seven previous starts.

Ms Vanenzza also has Breeders’ Cup experience, having finished ninth in the 2009 Juvenile Fillies. Now 5, Ms Vanenzza was second best behind Eclipse finalist Hilda’s Passion in the 2011 edition of the Hurricane Bertie.

Belle of the Hall, who finished full of run to win a high-level optional claiming race here last month, Strike the Moon, third in the Sugar Swirl, and Funny Sunny complete the field.

Hurricane Bertie Stakes (G3), Post Time: 4:45 ET Sunday

Purse: $150,000; 6 1/2 furlongs





ML Odds


Pica Slew

B. Lynch

L. Contreras



Belle of the Hall

T. Ablertrani

E. Trujillo



R Holiday Mood

T. Pletcher

J. Velasquez



Strike The Moon

M. Trombetta

E. Prado



Funny Sunny

R. Hess, Jr.

K. Desormeaux



Ms Vanenzza

J. Vazquez

R. Maragh



Her Smile

C. Brown

J. Castellano