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Parx Racing: Happy Got Lucky entry double tough in Mistletoe
By Joe DeVivo
A pair of Christmas-themed starter handicaps and a second-level optional $25,000 claimer with a purse of $50,000 highlight the only Thoroughbred program in North America on Monday at Parx Racing, where the first of nine races will go off at 12:25 p.m. Eastern.
The best of the co-featured trio of races is the $50,000 Mistletoe Starter Handicap (race 7), a six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares who have run for a claiming tag of $16,000 or less the past two seasons.
The Happy Got Lucky Stables coupled entry of Tanivan and Kalambaka Queen should vie for favortism with transplanted California 3-year-old Do Somethin.
The 5-year-old Tanivan has undergone a dramatic reversal of fortune in 2012, winning 7 of 14 starts for her new connections following a 0-for-10 campaign in 2011. Claimed for $7,500 out of a fourth-place finish last December by trainer Marcos Zulueta, Tanivan has been a dominant figure in the starter handicap ranks at Parx. She will bring a four-race winning streak into Monday’s race, including a 4 1/2-length score going a mile and 70 yards against second-level optional $25,000 claimers on Dec. 16.
Although Kalambaka Queen joined the Happy Got Lucky Stables following a $16,000 claim, she is trained by Scott Lake rather than Zulueta. Lake has a 12-for-33 record (36 percent) with Happy Got Lucky runners in 2012.
Kalambaka Queen returns to the starter handicap ranks for the first time since winning at Monday’s level in February. She makes her first start for her new owners following a wire-to-wire score on Oct. 27.
The most serious threat to the entry is Do Somethin, who is 5 for 5 racing on dirt in 2012. Do Somethin will be racing for her third different trainer in as many starts. She was taken from Tony Dutrow by Keith Lebarron for $25,000 on Oct. 20 and claimed away in her next start by Chuck Spina for $16,000. She brings a four-race winning streak into Monday’s race and is 3 for 3 at Parx.
The field includes two stakes winners whose current form is hard to gauge.
North Freeway won a two-turn overnight stakes at Delaware Park in May, but has been pulled up and vanned off twice since then, including in her most recent race on Nov. 21.
Ann’s Smart Dancer won three stakes for Pennsylvania-breds during a 5-for-8 campaign as a 3-year-old in 2011, but is 0 for 11 this year. Two starts ago, she missed by a head going 5 1/2 furlongs in a second-level optional $25,000 claimer at Penn National.
◗ Score the Gold, a six-time winner this season, and Fersmiley, coming off a career-best 90 Beyer Speed Figure, look like the top contenders in the $50,000 eighth race at six furlongs, open to second-level allowance and $25,000 claimers.
The 5-year-old Storm the Gold came from far off the pace to miss by a half-length at this same level on Dec. 3.
Fersmiley, first or second in 10 of 13 lifetime at Parx, steps up to the next logical level following a one-length, front-running win on Dec. 2.
◗ The seven-furlong, $45,000 Gift of the Magi (race 6) is restricted to horses who are winless in 2012 and have started for $12,500 or less this season. Two of the prime contenders are Distorted Appeal, who cuts back from a good effort going a mile in which he held a narrow lead after seven furlongs, and Bear’s Godfather, whose 5 second-place finishes in 8 starts this season at Fort Erie include a near-miss last time out in mid-October.
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