MATCHMAKER S. | PURSE: $150,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS & UP | FILLIES & MARES | GRADE 3 | 1 1/8 MILES (TURF)
It was Laughing all the way -- down the stretch, at least -- in the $150,500 Taylor Made Matchmaker Stakes at Monmouth Park July 29. The Richard Santulli color-bearer earned her first stakes score with a solid one-length victory over five other fillies and mares.
Shimmering Moment made a desperate run up the rail coming off the turn in the 1 1/8-mile turf event, but couldn't catch 6-5 favorite Laughing, who held well in a final time of 1:48.93. It was 3 1/2 lengths back to Island School in third.
Third in the May 19 Gallorette Handicap last time out for trainer Alan Goldberg, Irish-bred Laughing raced up close under jockey Rafael Bejarano as Silver Screamer led through a quarter in :24.55, then thentook over on the clubhouse turn to set fractions of :48.87 for the half, 1:12.80 for three-quarters, and a mile in 1:36.83. The 4-year-old daughter of Dansili hit the stretch a length in front and maintained that margin to the wire under a strong drive.
"The other horse went right to the front, but under the wire the first time, I saw he took a little hold, so I sent my filly to the lead," Bejarano said. "They were rocking in the first part, and I was a little worried, but I put her on the lead, and that's where she was very comfortable."
Laughing returned $4.40, $2.80, and $2.60 while Shimmering Moment paid $6.60 and $4.20 and Island School brought $4.20. Island Time, Silver Screamer, and Unbridled Humor completed the order of finish. Dealbata and Hessonite scratched.
Laughing made her first starts in Ireland, where she broke her maiden and won a weight for age stakes in 2011. She made her North American debut with an uninspiring seventh in the E.P. Taylor Stakes going 1 1/4 miles at Woodbine Oct. 16, then went to the sidelines until returning to take an April 20 allowance event going a mile on the Aqueduct lawn this spring.
"She's a nice filly," Goldberg remarked. "She never had a real chance in the Maryland race with the heat and the shipping. But she's been doing great since then, and I thought she would run well today."
Bred by Floors Farming and the Duke Of Devonshire, Laughing is out of the Be My Chief mare Comic. The bay filly now has four wins, a second, and a third from eight starts with earnings of $210,769.
The top three finishers in the Matchmaker will receive a stallion season from Taylor Made Stallions in addition to the respective purses.