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Rafael Bejarano celebrates his win aboard More Happy in the 2007 Adirondack Stakes
Traditionally, many of the top juveniles in the country start their careers at Saratoga. On Wednesday, the 2-year-old fillies division was featured as a field of nine sprinted 6 1/2 furlongs over the main track in the $150,000 Adirondack Stakes (G2). Racing conditions were ideal with temps in the high 70's, clear skies, and an on-track crowd of 20,838 was on hand. California shipper More Happy was the 3-2 favorite coming off a win in her debut at Del Mar last out. Woodbine shipper Sky Mom was the 4-1 second choice, off a second place finish in the My Dear Stakes, with Kentucky-based A To The Croft the 5-1 third choice, winner of her debut at Churchill Downs.
More Happy leads as they head down the stretch
Phantom Income reared at the start and was never close for the entire race. She would be declared a non-starter as she was still in the hands of the assistant starter when the gates opened. More Happy opened up a 1 1/2 length lead on the backstretch and set fractions of 21.88 and 44.93 while being stalked by Sky Mom and 15-1 Yonagucci. Entering the stretch, jockey Rafael Bejarano asked More Happy for run and got it as she opened up a commanding 4 1/2 length lead with a furlong to go. A To The Croft, who raced in seventh early, came out six wide into the lane and closed with a rush, however she was left with too much ground to make up. More Happy, clearly tiring in the final 1/16, was able to hold her off to win by 3/4 length in 1:17.51. It was just another 3/4 length back to 6-1 Passion in third.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 6 More Happy Bejarano 5.00 3.10 2.60 1 A to the Croft Desormeaux 4.50 3.30 2 Passion Velazquez 3.90 Winning Time: 1:17.51 $2 Exacta 6-1 35.00 $2 Trifecta 6-1-2 126.00 $2 Superfecta 6-1-2-5 625.00
More Happy in the winner's circle. Her trainer Bob Baffert said, "She's a nice filly and we thought a lot of her. I knew she was extremely fast. I told Rafael (Bejarano, jockey) that when she leaves, don't fight her and don't hold her back. I like Rafael; he's a good speed rider. I like to get a rider that fits the horse, and I knew he would let her do her thing. She was getting tired in the end. She was tearing it up early. When I saw 44 and four, John Sikura (one of the owners), said, `Oh my God, we're dead.' I said, `No, we're not.' I would love to start her at two turns. I really don't know what we're going to do. We'll have to play it by ear."
More Happy in the post parade. Her jockey Rafael Bejarano said, "I saw a lot of speed in the race. Mr. (Bob) Baffert told me to let her break from the gate, and see what happens and let her run and don't take hold of her. That's why I was letting go. When nobody put pressure on, and we were on the lead, we were gone. She got a little tired. When I got to the turn, that horse was coming and I heard noise behind me. So, that's why I started whipping, but I don't think she liked the whip. She ran good. She won comfortably. I didn't have to push her too hard to win."
Second place finisher A to the Croft in the post parade. Her trainer Ken McPeek said, "Going a mile, this group wouldn't have seen my horse. She ran out of racetrack. She's a nice filly and a classy one as well. She will definitely like going longer." Her jockey Kent Desormeaux said, "She ran big today. I'm happy. She has a very bright future."
Third place finisher Passion heads to the track before the race. The daughter of Came Home entered the race off a 7 1/2 length maiden win at Arlington Park last out. Under jockey John Velazquez, she was reserved early, saved ground on the turn, then came out three wide for the drive closing well late. She improved her record to 1 win and 1 third in 2 starts with earnings of $31,800 for trainer Bob Baffert and owners Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor.
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