R Holiday Mood, a two-time stakes winner last term, returned from seven months on the sidelines to deadheat for a gritty victory in the one-mile Ocala S. at Gulfstream Park Jan. 8. Shortening up and trying graded company for the second time in her career, the bay filly broke sharply and took the early lead. She was hounded by Funny Sunny through fractions of :22.67 and :45.14 with a tightly bunched chasing pack. Funny Sunny inched past the pacesetter at midstretch, but R Holiday Mood battled back on the inside for a narrow victory.
“The speed didn’t really develop, so I went ahead and took the initiative”, explained winning rider John Velazquez. Victorious trainer Todd Pletcher wasn’t surprised by R Holiday Mood’s effort. “I felt reasonably confident that she would run well today coming off the mile race”, Pletcher said. “That was a demanding race and the mile is about her limit, but she’s a big strong filly and came out of it well. I’d say if she comes out of this okay we’ll look at the next one, the [Mar. 17 G2I] Inside Information S. The 1400m distance is just right for her.”Sunday, Gulfstream Park HURRICANE BERTIE S.-G3, $150,000, GPX, 2-19, 4yo/up, f/m, 6 1/2f, 1:15 4/5, ft. 1-R HOLIDAY MOOD, 117, f, 4, by Trippi 1st Dam: Polish Holiday (GSW, $131,344), by Danzig 2nd Dam: Kapalua Butterfly, by Stage Door Johnny 3rd Dam: Aces Swinging, by Native Dancer O/B-E Paul Robsham Stables LLC (FL); T-Todd A Pletcher; J-John R Velazquez; $90,000. Lifetime Record: 8-5-0-1, $217,800. 2-Funny Sunny, 117, f, 4, Sharp Humor-Sunny Laugh, by Relaunch. ($70,000 yrl ’09 KEESEP; $60,000 2yo >10 FTFFEB; $380,000 2yo >10 KEENOV). O-Whisper Hill Farm; B-Highclere (KY); T-R B Hess Jr; $30,000. 3-Her Smile, 123, f, 4, Include-Hepburn, by Capote. ($1,000,000 HRA >11 FTKNOV). O-Stronach Stables; B-William M Backer (VA); T-Chad C Brown; $15,000. Margins: nk, 2 ½, 1 ½ . Also ran: Belle of the Hall, Pica Slew, Strike the Moon, Ms Vanenzza.