02/19/2012 7:25PM

Gulfstream: R Holiday Mood posts neck victory in Hurricane Bertie

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Courtney Stafford
The pacesetting R HOliday Mood, under John Velazquez, holids off Funny Sunny to capture the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -  Todd Pletcher didn’t expect to see R. Holiday Mood  on the lead in Sunday’s $150,000 Hurricane Bertie at Gulfstream Park. What he is beginning to expect is to wind up in the winner’s circle with just about any horse he saddles for the E. Paul Robsham Stables here this winter.

R Holiday Mood ($12.40) gave the Robsham Stables its 11th win from just 18 starts at this meeting when she set  a contested pace before re-asserting herself along the rail after relinquishing the lead to Funny Sunny near midstretch to post a hard-fought neck decision in the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie. The performance mirrored her effort in the one-mile Ocala Stakes on Jan. 8 when R Holiday Mood was pushed on the lead from start to finish while racing along a deep rail before digging in bravely to finish in a dead heat for first with Delightful Mary.

R Holiday Mood, a homebred daughter of Trippi, has now won five of her last seven starts, including four stakes. She had been idle nearly seven months prior to the Ocala.

The 4-year-old R Holiday Mood, ridden by John Velazquez, covered the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:5.82. Funny Sunny finished 2 1/2 lengths clear of odds-on favorite Her Smile in third.

“I really didn’t expect her to be on the lead today,” said Pletcher of R Holiday Mood.. “I thought the one [Pica Slew] would go to the front and we’d follow her. When she didn’t break clean, it put us in that position. I felt reasonably confident that she would run well coming off the mile race. That was a demanding race and a mile is about her limit but I thought she’d have an advantage today turning back to what I believe is a better distance for her.”

Pletcher said despite having had two hard- fought races at the meet, there is a good possibility he’ll bring R Holiday Mood back for the seven-furlong, Grade 2  Inside Information  on March 17.

“She’s a big, strong filly and I’d say if she comes out of this okay, we’ll look at the next one,” said Pletcher. “The way things have been going I don’t think I want to pass many opportunities with Mrs. Robsham’s horses here this meet.”