12/04/2008 12:00AM

Happy Henrietta isn't just a sprinter


STICKNEY, Ill. - Happy Henrietta won her career debut at 4 1/2 furlongs, and when she scored a 22-1 upset last month in the Showtime Deb Stakes at Hawthorne, it came in a six-furlong race. Moreover, Happy Henrietta is by the sire Supremo, which makes one think speed. So, a natural inclination would be to downgrade Happy Henrietta's chances on Saturday at Hawthorne in the two-turn, 1 1/16-mile Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante, the 2-year-old filly's first route start.

And that would be a mistake.

Happy Henrietta has two siblings that made the races, and both won over a route of ground. And trainer Steve Fridley, who sent out Happy Henrietta for the first time in the Showtime Deb, said he believes the filly actually will turn out to be better in route races than sprints.

"Naturally, you always wonder if they can go long," said the Fairmount Park-based Fridley. "But her running style is good for it. She sits behind horses and waits, which bodes well. I actually think her better races are going to be long - but that six-furlong race looked pretty good, too."

Making her first start since being privately purchased by Timothy Keeley, Happy Henrietta raced mid-pack in the Nov. 1 Showtime Deb, making her move turning into the long Hawthorne stretch. She won by a length, and has had an excellent month between starts, working three times at Fairmount in preparation for the $100,000 Debutante.

"I think I have a fresh horse that's pretty much ready to run," Fridley said. "If she gets beat on Saturday, it's because she got beat by a better horse."

There are 10 horses entered in the Debutante, and only four of them have started in a two-turn race. Among them, only Stormy April has won a route, but she beat only Illinois-bred maidens on Nov. 13. Lose None finished third in her two-turn debut, but that came in an open entry-level allowance race here Nov. 20.

"I really do think she can go two turns," said trainer Terry Gestes. "It seemed like she got a little tired last time against the open horses. I think getting a route race under her is a big plus."

Ava Mae, fourth behind Lose None last out, also can handle a route of ground, but she looked much more comfortable in her career debut on turf than she did last out on dirt.