Thai Haku Enjoys Great Trip in South Beach
By Ed Gray
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Thai Haku was the beneficiary of a dream trip under jockey Julien Leparoux for a trainer who learned his lessons from the late Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel.
The 4-year-old Irish-bred filly drew off by 1 ¼ lengths to capture the $60,000 South Beach Stakes Sunday at Gulfstream Park, continuing trainer Chad Brown’s success with European imports.
“We’ve had success with our program. I had a good teacher,” said Frankel’s former assistant trainer. “They’re all different. Some, I might not run for six months and others just fall into the program and you can run them a lot sooner. We’ve had her with us for awhile now and gotten to know her.”
Making her third start in the U.S. for Brown and the TYB Stable, Thai Haku ($7.20) relaxed while racing behind the leaders into the homestretch before kicking clear in the final sixteenth of a mile in the 7 ½ -furlong turf stakes for fillies and mares.
“I had a perfect trip behind the leaders without having to check or anything,” Leparoux said. “I just got a perfect trip and she finished good.”
Hooh Why, who closely attended the early pace set by Mutually Benefit, held second money, a half-length ahead of a Trip for A.J.
“I had a beautiful trip. She just got outrun at the end,” said jockey Ron Allen Jr., whose second-place finisher was the longest priced runner in the field of 11 at 40-1 odds. “I settled second, nice and relaxed, and when I asked her she took off. She just got outrun late.”
Thai Haku, who ran 7 ½ furlongs over a “good” turf course in 1:31.29, ran third in the Noble Damsel (G3) at Belmont on Sep.18 in his first U.S. start for former trainer Mikel Delzangles. Making her first start for Brown, the daughter of Oasis Dream checked in fourth in the Athenia (G3) at Belmont.
“I probably ran her back too soon in her last start. It was toward the end of the turf season (in New York), so we took a chance, but the ground was yielding and we knew from her previous connections that she preferred it more firm,” Brown said. “Today the course was listed as ‘good’ but Julien told me it was closer to firm.”
Stabled at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream Park’s state-of-the-art satellite training facility in Boynton Beach, Thai Haku will likely return to action in the $100,000 Marshua’s River (G3) on Jan. 7.