HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Happy My Way is proving to be quite the horse for the course at Gulfstream Park. Making his third start of the Champions Meet in Thursday’s featured eighth race, the 4-year-old gelding assumed command at the outset and was never seriously threatened in the six-furlong optional claiming allowance. Ridden by Joe Bravo, Happy My Way ($3.20) stopped the clock in 1:08.26, which was just .14 seconds off of the track record.
“That was impressive,” said winning trainer Joe Orseno, whose gelding just missed Big Drama’s six-furlong track record of 1:08.12 set in 2011. “The time was fast. He likes this track – he really does.”
Determined runner-up Dad'z Laugh closed steadily in the stretch to cut Happy My Way’s winning margin to three-quarters of a length. Undrafted, owned by Denver Broncos receiver Wes Welker, rounded out the trifecta another 3 ¾ lengths back.
Owned by Mel Paikoff, Happy My Way had shown improvement when switched to the turf last summer. In his first local appearance, the Florida-bred faded to fourth in the Sunshine Millions Turf Preview Stakes on Nov. 9. He bounced back to prevail in an optional-claiming test on the Gulfstream dirt on Dec. 4 and followed that with an honorable second to Ribo Bobo in the Sunshine Millions Sprint on Jan. 18.
Orseno maintained that his charge is better on the lawn, however.
“I still say he's a better turf horse,” Orseno offered. “But he likes this track, so we'll just stay with what's working right now.”
Orseno indicated that Happy My Way could make his next appearance in the $100,000 Sir Shackleton Stakes at Gulfstream on March 29.
“I probably won't put him back on the grass until we leave here, because that's what woke him up and got him good to begin with,” Orseno added. “When I put him on the grass at Monmouth, he started to go forward. There's just something about the dirt course here that he just bounces over so well. He's so quick, I figure if it's not broke, don't fix it.”
Rainbow 6 Carryover Climbs to $1,127,355.43
The 20-cent Rainbow 6 jackpot remained elusive to bettors for the 31st consecutive day, generating a carryover of $1,127,355.43 heading into Friday’s card. A total of $353,478 was wagered on the multi-race wager Thursday. No single ticket was alive for the jackpot going into the 10th and final race. The 1-10-5-4-1-10 combination for the last six races paid $5,906.28 to multiple ticketholders.
The popular wager, which requires a bettor to hold the only unique ticket in the six-race sequence to collect the jackpot, has not been paid out since January 10, when it was cashed for $30,670.26.
Rainbow 6 Carryover: $1,127,355.43