04/30/2005 12:00AM

King of Happiness wins Inglewood


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - King of Happiness ($6.80) won his first stakes in more than three years in Saturday's $107,200 at Hollywood Park, edging stablemate Red Fort in a thrilling finish.

The victory gave trainer Neil Drysdale his first win in the Grade 3 Inglewood and his 65th career stakes win at Hollywood Park. The Inglewood was one of the few turf races that Drysdale had not conquered.

King of Happiness finished 1 1-16 miles on turf in a quick 1:40.67. Ridden by Patrick Valenzuela, King of Happiness stalked Mister Acpen to the end of the backstretch before pulling clear to lead by two lengths in the stretch.

Red Fort, last on the backstretch in the field of six, made up considerable ground on the final turn. He was within a length of King of Happiness at the sixteenth pole but his rally fell short by a nose. Just Wonder finished third, four lengths behind the winner. Capitano and Vangelis were late scratches.

King of Happiness, 6, races for Sheikh Maktoum al Maktoum. A winner of 5 of 19 starts and $305,422, King of Happiness scored his first stakes win in the Inglewood since the Group 3 Craven Stakes in England in April 2002.