06/28/2005 12:00AM

Happy Ticket's plans include Calder, Saratoga


Happy Ticket might be spending some of her summer in Miami as well as at Saratoga. But not to chill. Happy Ticket will be hitting some of summer's hippest vacation spots for work. She could make her next start in the Grade 2, $500,000 Princess Rooney at six furlongs at Calder Race Course on July 9, said her trainer, Andrew Leggio.

Happy Ticket is also being considered for the Grade 1, $250,000 Ballerina Handicap at seven furlongs at Saratoga Race Course on Aug. 28.

"We'll just play it by ear," said Leggio.

Happy Ticket ran her career record to 9 for 9 in her last start, when she drew off to a 3 1/2-length win in the Grade 3 Chicago Breeders' Cup Handicap at seven furlongs at Arlington Park on June 18. It was her first start outside of her native Louisiana, and she handled the trip like a seasoned pro, said Leggio.

"I tell you what, she couldn't have done any better," said Leggio. "She never turned a hair. She never got excited. Everything went well. She's a very laid-back filly. She's pretty awesome."

Happy Ticket has since returned home, and is training at Louisiana Downs, where she started her 4-year-old campaign with a win in the $50,000 Suthern Accent on May 14.

"She's doing great," said Leggio. "She's back over here, and right now we're leaning toward running her in the Princess Rooney."

Leggio said he last raced at Calder about 25 years ago. He trains Happy Ticket, a winner of $382,260, for her breeder, Stewart Madison.

North America's winningest horse

Happy Ticket is not the only horse at Louisiana Downs on a long win streak. Rue des Reves ran her 2005 record to 7 for 7 on June 19, when she won the $100,000 Lady Canterbury at Canterbury Park.

Only one other horse in North America has seven wins this year, and that's My Buddy Richie, who is 7 for 9.

"It's kind of neat, being the only undefeated horse in America with seven starts," said Craig Amundson, who owns Rue des Reves.

Amundson said this week he plans to discuss next-race plans with Dwight Viator, who trains Rue des Reves. Among the options are the $75,000 HBPA Handicap at one mile on turf at Ellis Park on July 16; the $200,000 All Along Breeders' Cup at 1 1/8 miles on turf at Colonial Downs, also July 16; and the Grade 3, $150,000 Modesty Handicap at 1 3/16 miles on turf at Arlington Park on July 23.

"One of those three races will probably come up in our schedule," Amundson said.

In the Lady Canterbury, Rue des Reves was making her stakes debut and she was tested in the race for the first time during her streak. She won by a nose, the smallest margin of victory since she began her win streak in a $10,000 starter allowance at Fair Grounds on Jan. 23.

"This was the first time we've had to ask her to lay it on the line, and she didn't have a very easy trip," said Amundson. "She was six wide coming around the turn. She ran farther than any other horse in the race."

Rue des Reves shipped to Canterbury in part because the track is near Amundson's home, which is just across the St. Croix River in Wisconsin. Amundson said the mare traveled back home to Louisiana Downs with Happy Ticket, who raced out of town the same weekend at Arlington.

Rue des Reves is a 6-year-old mare by Royal Academy and her dam, Theycallmecharlie, placed in three turf stakes and was an allowance winner on the grass at Belmont Park. Overall, Rue des Reves has won 13 of 29 starts and $216,047.

Return of Zarb's Dahar

Zarb's Dahar, who won all six of his starts at the Louisiana Downs meet last year to share horse of the meet honors with Happy Ticket, will make his 2005 debut in the ninth race Thursday.

The six-furlong allowance for open company drew a stakes-quality group of horses, including Zarb's Luck, a winner $534,310; Nuttyboom, who earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 104 in a stakes for statebreds in March last out; stakes winners Walk This Way and Late Expectations; and the stakes-placed I'm Majestic.

Zarb's Dahar last raced on Dec. 11, finishing a troubled fourth as the favorite in the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint at Fair Grounds. Before that race, he had won six straight starts at Louisiana Downs, capping the run with a win in the $50,000 Cajun for Louisiana-breds on Oct. 23.

Zarb's Dahar shows a nice series of works for his return, and trainer James Hodges has given the mount to Gerard Melancon.

* Louisiana Downs will race five consecutive days this week because of the July 4 holiday, with a special card scheduled for Monday. Racing will then resume on Friday, July 8.