07/18/2013 4:08PM

Saratoga: My Happy Face the speedster in CCA Oaks

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Jessica Hansen/NYRA
My Happy Face (right) beats Cue the Moon in the Tempted Stakes.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – My Happy Face has three wins and three seconds in her career. Each loss has come to a filly trained by Todd Pletcher.

When My Happy Face returns to Grade 1 competition in the $300,000 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga on Saturday, there will be not one, but two Pletcher-trained fillies standing in her way.

Kentucky Oaks winner Princess of Sylmar and Fair Grounds Oaks winner Unlimited Budget will likely be the top two betting choices in the Coaching Club American Oaks, the first of 18 Grade 1 races to be run this summer at Saratoga.

Those two, however, will likely have to catch My Happy Face, who looks like she will have the controlling speed in the Coaching Club.

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My Happy Face, a daughter of Tiz Wonderful, won a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race by 21 1/4 lengths here last August. She then gave Dreaming of Julia everything she wanted before falling a head short in the Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont.

My Happy Face ended her 2-year-old season with a victory in the Grade 3 Tempted over Cue the Moon – also in this field – before getting beat by Kauai Katie in the Forward Gal to begin her 3-year-old campaign.

Owner Michael Dubb transferred My Happy Face to Chad Brown from Rudy Rodriguez in the spring, and the filly won a one-mile overnight stakes at Belmont on June 13 in her first start for her new trainer.

“Since she ran I think she’s training better than before the race,” Brown said. “I’m looking forward to running her in the race.”

The Coaching Club will be the first time My Happy Face has run as far as 1 1/8 miles and around two turns.

“I’m not making any predictions” Brown said. “I can’t be certain about her around two turns, but I’m optimistic she’ll be able to run two turns and be able to compete.”

Joel Rosario will ride My Happy Face from the one post.

[SARATOGA 2013: Complete meet coverage, exclusive DRF videos]

Princess of Sylmar dominated the winter at Aqueduct – winning three races – before running second to Close Hatches in the Grade 2 Gazelle Stakes, when she was taken a little bit out of her game. She rebounded with a huge effort in the Kentucky Oaks, taking advantage of a fast pace and the 1 1/8 miles to come from ninth of ten runners early to win.

“I think there’s a legitimate pace in there,” Pletcher said of the CCA Oaks. “It’s not going to be a hot pace on paper, but she’s an adaptable filly. I think the main thing is – unlike the way we rode her in the Gazelle – just let her run her race and she’ll deliver a big kick in the end.”

With Mike Smith at Delaware Park to ride Royal Delta in the Delaware Handicap, Javier Castellano will ride Princess of Sylmar from post 4.

Unlimited Budget finished a no-excuse third in the Kentucky Oaks before trying the boys in the Belmont Stakes, where she finished sixth. Back with fillies and back at nine furlongs, Unlimited Budget has a big chance to rebound under John Velazquez.

“I thought physically she handled it well, came out of it in good shape,” Pletcher said. “We were asking a lot of her, but she didn’t disgrace herself.”

The last time Marathon Lady ran 1 1/8 miles around two turns, she came within a neck of Fiftyshadesofhay in the Black-Eyed Susan. She comes out of a third-place finish in the Mother Goose.

Cue the Moon, a maiden winner over this track last year, was most recently fourth in the Grade 1 Acorn. Trainer James Bond adds blinkers to Cue the Moon’s equipment for this race.

tim More than 1 year ago
Almost seems too good to be true. These usually lose for me!
Perl More than 1 year ago
I wonder if that 3-1 morning line will hold up. This gal is GONE!
jimf552 More than 1 year ago
Let's hope so!