10/01/2017 9:42AM

O'Brien's Magical falters, but his Happily triumphs in two Group 1's


Trainer Aidan O’Brien’s 2-year-old filly in the female-restricted Prix Marcel Boussac, Magical, faltered and finished fourth, but his filly in the open Prix Jean Luc-Lagardere, Happily, beat five males at Chantilly.

Happily became the first filly to win the Group 1 Lagardere since 1986 while becoming O’Brien’s 21st Group 1 winner of 2017. That leaves the master of Ballydoyle just four wins short of Bobby Frankel’s record 25 Group or Grade 1 wins in a calendar year.

The Lagardere is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” race linked to the BC Juvenile Turf, but Happily almost certainly won’t be in that race. Happily already earned a “Win and You’re In” guaranteed berth in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf by winning the Moyglare Stud Stakes in her most recent start, but O’Brien mentioned the Fillies Mile at Newmarket as a possible next race.

The Lagardere also is part of the new European Road to the Kentucky Derby, a series awarding points to the top four finishers in seven designated races. The top cumulative point-earner whose connections want a spot in the Derby, capped at 20 starters, has one. Happily would seem a highly unlikely participant, but earned 10 points for winning. Olmedo, Masar, and Woodmax got 4, 2, and 1 point, respectively.

Happily won the Lagardere over one mile and looked like she could go farther. Still fourth with about a quarter-mile to run, Happily emerged from between horses to make a final push down the outside, and after drawing abreast of Olmedo and Masar, she opened a little daylight in the final 50 yards, winning by 1 1/4 lengths. Her time for the one-turn mile on a soft Chantilly course was 1:38.51.

Happily won for the fourth time in six starts. The filly is by Galileo and out of the Storm Cat mare You’resothrilling, making her a brother to the multiple Group 1 winner Gleneagles.

Magical beat Happily in August, but she was no match for upset winner Wild Illusion in the Group 1 Boussac. Wild Illusion, trained by Charlie Appleby for Godolphin, had only a Yarmouth maiden win and a Group 3 placing at Chantilly on her resume, but that recent local start apparently was a prep for Sunday’s race that perfectly served its intended function.

Under James Doyle, Wild Illusion raced prominently from the start, reached pace-setter Soustraction with more than a quarter-mile remaining, and from there left no doubt of her superiority on the day. Wild Illusion crossed the finish 1 1/2 lengths in front of a three-horse photo for place, which showed Polydream second, Mission Impassible third, and Magical fourth.

The Boussac is a “Win and You’re In” for the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf, but Appleby quickly quashed thoughts of a trip to Del Mar saying Wild Illusion’s campaign was over and that she’d be put away to prepare for her 3-year-old season. Wild Illusion is by Dubawi and out of Monsun mare Rumh.