Black-Eyed Susan: 'Happy' surprises

Updated: May 14, 2010, 8:23 PM ET
By David Grening | Daily Racing Form



BALTIMORE -- Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. had enough confidence in Acting Happy to run her in Friday's Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico even though the 3-year-old filly was twice beaten in the first-level allowance level.

Acting Happy rewarded her trainer's faith with a solid 1 1/2-length victory over No Such Word in the $175,000 Black-Eyed Susan. It was 2 1/4 lengths back to Tidal Pool in third. She was followed in the order of finish by Harissa, Khancord Kid, C.C.'s Pal and Patriot Miss.

The race was marred by a spill as Diva Delite clipped heels with C.C.'s Pal, under Eibar Coa, entering the far turn and Seeking the Title fell over Diva Delite. Both horses appeared to be okay, as did Kent Desormeaux, the rider of Seeking the Title. Julien Leparoux, the rider of Diva Delite, was complaining of body-soreness and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital for precautionary X-rays, according his agent, Steve Bass. Leparoux was scheduled to ride Pleasant Prince in Saturday's Preakness.

Acting Happy was a supplemental nomination to the race, her connections having to pay $1,500 to run. But Dutrow thought the two-turn, 1 1/8 miles of the Black-Eyed Susan were exactly what his filly wanted.

"I didn't pick this because it's a big day and the Black-Eyed Susan, I was kind of picking a nice race for her," Dutrow said. "The longer the better."

After watching horses who were forwardly placed win all day at Pimlico, Dutrow instructed jockey Jose Lezcano to give Acting Happy "a little incentive early."

Lezcano followed those instructions, putting Acting Happy into the race, stalking from second the pacesetting Khancord Kid through fractions of 23.78 seconds for the quarter and 47.54 for the half. Tidal Pool joined the fray three wide around the far turn and that trio covered the six furlongs in 1:11.43.

In upper stretch, it became at two-horse race with Tidal Pool taking a slim advantage over Acting Happy between the eighth pole and sixteenth pole. But Acting Happy battled back along the rail and drew away from Tidal Pool while easily holding off No Such Word, who was rallying down the four path in the stretch.

"I saw speed was holding, I let her break and get comfortable after that I was waiting," Lezcano said. "She gave me a big kick."

Acting Happy covered the 1/18 miles 1:50.00 and returned $22.20.

Acting Happy is a daughter of Empire Maker owned and bred by Samantha Siegel's Jay Em Ess Stable. She won her debut at Gulfstream going 1 1/8 miles before finishing second to Christine Daae and Streaker in first-level allowance races at Gulfstream.

"When she keeps getting beat in allowance races and you run in a big stakes like this you know I've had a lot of confidence in her and she showed us why today," Dutrow said.

Dutrow said his major objective for the summer is Alabama at Saratoga in August.

Terry Thompson, the jockey of No Such Word, felt his filly was compromised by the speed-favoring nature of the track.

"Speed was holding all day. I was real happy with how she finished up. I kind of got shuffled outside around the turn and lost a little bit there, but she ran a great race," Thompson said.