My Happy Face
By Jessica Tugwell | 08/31/2012 04:25 PM ET
My Happy Face might have come up second-best in her debut, but she gave her connections reason to smile with a 21 ¼-length victory in Friday’s first race.
Owned by Michael Dubb and piloted by Ramon Dominguez, the Rudy Rodriguez trainee was away like a shot to quickly assume a three-length lead. Nearing the half-mile pole her four rivals began to edge closer, but she opened up again on the turn and came into the stretch with a commanding lead, drawing away under no encouragement from her jockey. She completed 5 ½ furlongs in 1:03.55 and rewarded her backers with a $2.40 win payoff as the 1-5 favorite.
“We’ve been doing a lot of work [at the gate] in the morning,” said Rodriguez of his charge, who finished 4 ¾ lengths behind fellow New York Watch member Teen Pauline in that filly’s track record-setting debut on July 25. “It looks like it paid off. She’s acted up in the gate before, but she’s been behaving the last couple of times we schooled her, so when she broke on top I said, ‘That’s it.’”
Expectations were high for My Happy Face, a daughter of freshman sire Tiz Wonderful out of the stakes-winning mare Summer Star, by Siberian Summer. My Happy Face sold for $35,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale.
“I expected her to run a very good race [first time out],” said Rodriguez. “I told Mike [she could win] a maiden special weight at Saratoga, and she did very good, but the Asmussen horse is a freak. I knew we had a very good filly to win at Saratoga, but I guess they did, too. It’s hard [to win first out], and mentally, I wanted her to grow a little bit. Everything we’ve done has been working out.”
Though her dam’s four wins came at distances ranging from 5 ½ to seven furlongs, the connections of My Happy Face believe that she will be able to stretch out.
“She’s just a very special filly,” said Rodriguez. “Hopefully she can continue improving. She’s very nice, and we’ll see where she takes us.”