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OAK TREE

Happyanunoit Seeks Turnaround

November 05, 2000|BOB MIESZERSKI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Bobby Frankel was unable to end his Breeders' Cup drought Saturday at Churchill Downs, but perhaps he can gain some consolation today at Santa Anita.

The Hall of Fame trainer, who came close to a giant upset with Honest Lady in the BC Sprint, will send out 8-5 favorite Happyanunoit against nine other fillies and mares in the $175,000 Las Palmas Handicap.

In the latter portion of 1999, Happyanunoit won three graded stakes in her final four starts as a 4-year-old.

The New Zealand-bred mare is headed in a different direction in 2000. She will be trying to end a two-race losing streak in the Las Palmas, which is run at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

After winning the Grade I Beverly Hills Handicap at Hollywood Park in July, Happyanunoit was second as the 3-5 favorite in the Beverly D. at Arlington, then finished a distant fourth at 9-10 in the Flower Bowl Handicap at Belmont Park last month.

Bothered by foot problems at various times during her career, Happyanunoit has trained well enough at Hollywood Park since returning from New York and Frankel is confident she will rebound this afternoon.

A winner of eight of 17, she will be ridden for the first time today by Corey Nakatani and will carry top weight of 121 pounds. In two previous races on the Santa Anita turf course, she was fourth in the Las Cienegas Handicap in 1999 and second to Caffe Latte in the Santa Barbara Handicap earlier this year.

New Story, who beat a softer field in her second American start for trainer Neil Drysdale, is the 7-2 second choice.

After winning two of nine in France, the 3-year-old daughter of Dynaformer was third against males in the Del Mar Derby before winning as the 2-5 favorite in an allowance race on this course on Oct. 12. Kent Desormeaux will again ride.

The Grade II Las Palmas also attracted Smooth Player, Polaire, Alexine, Beautiful Noise, Gleefully, Follow The Money, Juvenia and Elegant Ridge.

Scratched from the California Cup Matron eight days ago in favor of this spot, Smooth Player will break from the rail under Eddie Delahoussaye. The California-bred filly, who won the Lady's Secret Handicap on the main track on Oct. 9, will be looking for her third win in eight starts on the turf.

Horse Racing Notes

Apprentice jockey Tyler Baze was the riding star Saturday at Santa Anita. Baze, who turned 18 last month, won four of the seven races and increased his total for the Oak Tree meet to 16, putting him in a tie for fourth with Kent Desormeaux. After beginning the day with heavily favored Champagne Til Dawn in the first race, Baze won three in a row--Sam's in the third, Bills Paid in the fourth and Yaralino in the fifth. . . . Laffit Pincay Jr., who passed 9,000 career victories a week earlier when he won five races on California Cup Day, failed to win with his seven mounts on Saturday. He still leads the Oak Tree standings with 29 victories with two days remaining in the meet.

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