Laughing Delivers the punch line in Grade 1 Flower Bowl
By John Scheinman | 09/28/2013 06:59 PM ET
Taking full advantage of being the lone speed horse in a field of eight, Laughing doled out creeping fractions through the early stages of the Grade 1, $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational on Saturday and then turned on her speed late to win gate-to-wire by a half-length at Belmont Park.
The victory in the 1 ¼-mile fixture on the inner turf over her entrymate Tannery came in a time of 2:02.34 and placed Laughing squarely in the equation for the Eclipse Award for Champion Turf Female.
Laughing ran through an opening half-mile in 51.46 seconds and six furlongs in 1:16.02. She came home the final half-mile in 46.32 seconds.
In the winner's circle after the race, trainer Alan Goldberg and owner Richard Santulli excitedly talked over each other about Laughing, a 5-year-old Irish-bred daughter of Dansili, whose resume this year has been sterling. She has won the Grade 1 Flower Bowl, Grade 1 Diana, Grade 2 Ketel One Ballston Spa and Grade 3 Eatontown to go undefeated in four starts.
"She's won two Grade 1s, a Grade 2 and a Grade 3; who's done better?" said Santulli. "I told him [Goldberg] today, I don't think any of them can beat us. Tannery might beat her, but none of these horses."
"It was great," Goldberg said. "If somebody jumps up and runs a great race in the Breeders' Cup, they'll just make them champion, but as far as anybody who has run, I don't think there's anybody that's done what she's done this year."
Tannery, who finished fourth in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer against males in her prior start, was the only horse in the field to make up significant ground in the Flower Bowl, charging up on the outside from seventh to just miss.
She was followed home by Mystical Star, Qushchi, Kissable, Somali Lemonade, White Rose and Valiant Girl.
As part of a 3-5 favored entry, the pair paid $3.20 for a $2 win wager.
Laughing won for the eighth time in a 15-race career. The $360,000 first-place purse made her a millionaire with earnings of $1,178,855.