Updated on 09/15/2011 12:38PM

No competition left for 'Lake'

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DEL MAR, Calif. - The retirement of Happyanunoit, announced Thursday, has left Tranquility Lake as a heavy favorite in Saturday's $400,000 Ramona Handicap at Del Mar. But even that will not guarantee victory for the 6-year-old Tranquility Lake in the meeting's premier turf race for fillies and mares.

In 1999, Tranquility Lake was even money to win the Ramona, but finished fifth behind Tuzla after leading to midstretch. Last year, she didn't even make it to the gate. A suspected spider bite left her with a foreleg that looked like a windsock and kept her in the barn. She rebounded a month later to win the Grade 1 Yellow Ribbon Stakes.

"I don't know what it was, but it was a bite," trainer Julio Canani said. "If it was something serious, I wouldn't have run here in the Yellow Ribbon."

Without Happyanunoit, who has suffered a ligament injury, Tranquility Lake is a standout in the Ramona, run over 1 1/8 miles on turf. She carries 123 pounds, spotting the other fillies and mares from eight to 11 pounds.

Tranquility Lake has run twice this year, both at Hollywood Park, winning the Grade 3 Wilshire Handicap on April 29 in front-running style, and finishing second by a head to Happyanunoit in the Grade 1 Gamely Breeders' Cup Handicap on May 26. In both races, she was even money, but will be a shorter price in the Ramona.

A race at Del Mar has been in Canani's plans since the Gamely. He passed the Beverly Hills because of distance, and considered a start against males in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap next week.

"She's not a mile and a quarter filly," Canani said. "I got beat in the Beverly Hills before."

Of the other five starters, the biggest threat comes from Beautiful Noise, who won the Santa Ana Handicap at Santa Anita in March and was third in the Gamely Handicap, losing by a half-length. Trained by Ron McAnally, Beautiful Noise has developed into a top-class mare this year after running in allowance races and minor stakes at this time last year.

Bobby Frankel, who trained Happyanunoit, starts High Walden, who was fourth in the Gamely and second in the Santa Ana. High Walden could challenge Tranquility Lake on the lead, having led early in the Gamely. A 4-year-old, she won the Matiara Stakes for 3-year-old fillies last year, but has never won outside her age group.

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