Happy Soul was hammered down to 1-9 favoritism off a dominant graduation at this oval and ran to the money with another devastating performance in the Astoria S. at Belmont Friday. Shooting out to a clear lead, the Wesley Ward trainee zipped through a :21.92 opening quarter with no looming threats. Turning for home alone as the half went in :45.74, the bay poured it on in the lane to win for fun by eight lengths in 1:05.69. Constitution Gal (Constitution) was the runner-up. Second to her male stablemate Nakatomi (Firing Line) on debut in the slop at Keeneland Apr. 14, Happy Soul made a mockery of a five-panel event against her own sex here May 13, earning her diploma by 11 1/2 lengths.
“I was a little apprehensive to run her here, we entered with caution,” said trainer Wesley Ward. “If she drew the one hole or something, we may have opted out. But looking at the field, I thought it would be a good place to get a stakes win and increase the value for the owner. She hadn't had a race from her last race to this race, which I wasn't that concerned about. She was galloping beautifully.”
As for what's next, the conditioner said, “She'll get back to Keeneland and prepare for the GII Adirondack [S. Aug. 8] at Saratoga.”
“She fell asleep in the gate. She wasn't paying attention,” pilot John Velazquez said. “I had to use her coming out of there, which normally I don't want to do with [Wesley Ward's] horses because they go so fast, but I had to do it. Once I got out of there, I got into the position she wants. I just let her take her speed wherever she wanted to go. I was just worried a little bit out of the gate. I just put her on her game and let them chase her.”
Happy Soul is the second black-type winner for second-crop sire Runhappy. Cowgirl Lucky's only produce since the winner is a 2021 colt by Good Magic. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.
ASTORIA S., $144,000, Belmont, 6-3, 2yo, f, 5 1/2f, 1:05.69, ft.
1–HAPPY SOUL, 122, f, 2, by Runhappy
1st Dam: Cowgirl Lucky, by Stephen Got Even
2nd Dam: Energise, by Woodman
3rd Dam: De La Devil, by Devil's Bag
($50,000 Ylg '20 KEESEP). 1ST BLACK TYPE WIN. O-Gayla
Rankin; B-Harris Training Center, LLC (KY); T-Wesley A. Ward;
J-John R. Velazquez. $87,000. Lifetime Record: 3-2-1-0,
$148,500. *1/2 to Calgary Caper (El Corredor), GSW, $335,895.
2–Constitution Gal, 120, f, 2, Constitution–Spring Island, by
Spring At Last. ($45,000 Ylg '20 KEESEP; $195,000 2yo '21
OBSMAR). O-Gary Barber; B-Ledgelands, LLC (Shelley Ritter) &
Andrew C Ritter & Constitution Syndicate (KY); T-Mark Casse.
3–She's So Shiny, 120, f, 2, Capo Bastone–Sky Ay Ay Ay, by Sky
Mesa. O-Marc Ricker; B-Davaadorj Purevragchaa (KY);
T-Alberta Davies. $15,000.
Margins: 11HF, 1 1/4, 2 3/4. Odds: 0.15, 8.70, 14.50.
Also Ran: American Bound, Midsummer Nights. Scratched: Mainstay.