Making her first start back on American soil, Happy Like a Fool put in a dominating performance in the six-furlong, $150,000 Matron S. (G3) Sunday at Belmont Park. The Distorted Humor debutante's previous two starts had been in England on the turf, including a runner-up effort in the Queen Mary S. (G2) at Royal Ascot.
The switch back to dirt and the choice to remove blinkers proved to be a winning combination as the 2-year-old filly snagged her first graded stakes win in four lifetime starts. Happy Like a Fool broke from post 3 as the 3-5 favorite with Tyler Gaffalione aboard. The pair sat comfortably in third position, with the leader setting fractions of 22.81 for the opening quarter and 46.21 for the half, until the quarter-pole when she made her winning move, going three wide.
The race was won at the eighth-pole when she took over the lead and just kept going, winning the race decisively by 2 ¼ lengths. The final time for six furlongs was 1:10.98 (VIDEO).
“(Wesley) said she's been working like a monster,” said jockey Gaffalione. “She came out here and ran like a monster today.”
Ward said the filly is likely to get a break for the rest of the year and point her to a 3-year-old campaign of one-turn races.
The Distorted Humor filly became her sire’s 58th graded stakes winner and brought her race record to 4-2-1-0 with earnings of $160,197. She is out of Lastofthsummerwine and is a half-sister to G2 winner Conquest Panthera. She was bred in Kentucky by her trainer Wesley Ward, who earned $20,000 in WIN awards.