Her Smile Debuts for New Connections in Hurricane Bertie
By Ed Gray
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Her Smile was purchased by Stronach Stables following her third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at Churchill Downs in November, and the 4-year-old filly has been training like a million dollars for Sunday’s $150,000 Hurricane Bertie (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
“She couldn’t be training any better right now,” trainer Chad Brown said. “I’m really excited to see her run.”
Purchased from chef Bobby Flay for $1 million at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Sale, Her Smile has not raced since closing from far back with a wide run to check in 1 ¼ lengths behind victorious Musical Romance in the Filly & Mare Sprint on Nov. 5.
“I don’t think the layoff will be an issue for her,” Brown said. “I don’t know if she’ll run her ‘A’ race, but she’s training so well, I don’t think she needs a race to win.”
Her Smile, who was previously trained by defending eight-time Gulfstream training titlist Todd Pletcher, earned Grade 1 credentials on July 4 with a triumph in the Prioress at Belmont Park.
“She came to me in really good shape. We just gave her a little freshening at Palm Meadows,” Brown said. “She has worked very well every time I’ve worked her, so I’m really looking forward to see her run and use this race as a springboard for some other races.”
Javier Castellano, who was aboard the daughter of Include for her triumph in the Prioress, will be back aboard for the 6 ½-furlong sprint for fillies and mares.
“He knows the filly – won a Grade 1 on her – so I just figured to put him back on her and regain her form that way,” Brown said.
Her Smile’s former trainer will try to beat her Sunday with R Holiday Mood, who captured the one-mile Ocala Stakes for Florida-bred fillies and mares in a dead-heat with Delightful Mary on Jan. 8.
“I think she’ll appreciate the cutback in distance. I think the mile was really stretching her to her limits,” said Pletcher, whose daughter of Trippi set a pressured pace in the Ocala and held on courageously to earn a share of the winner’s purse. “It was a pretty courageous effort off the layoff. She got pretty tired the last part but kept on fighting. I think the 6 ½ will suit her much better.”