Happy Like a Fool gallops in Miss Preakness Stakes

by | May 18, 2018 | Breaking, Maryland, MD Racing, Racing, Top Stories


Merriebelle Stable, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and Susan Magnier’s Happy Like a Fool bounded to the lead at the start and splashed home an easy front-running winner of Saturday’s $150,000, Grade 3 Adena Springs Miss Preakness  at Pimlico Race Course.

The 33rd running of the six-furlong Miss Preakness for 3-year-old fillies marked the third win from four U.S. starts for Happy Like a Fool ($10.40) and second in a graded stake. She also captured the Matron (G3) in her stateside return last fall at Belmont Park.

Jockey Tyler Gaffalione, riding for trainer Wesley Ward, sent Happy Like a Fool to the front from their rail post, leading through a quarter-mile in 23.06 seconds and a half in 46.13, tracked by previously undefeated Artistic Diva on her right flank. After going five furlongs in 57.90, Happy Like a Fool opened up once straightened for home and hit the wire 6 ½ lengths in front in 1:10.12 over a sloppy and sealed main track.

The running time of 1:10.12 was a fifth faster than older fillies and mares managed the same distance two races earlier in the Skipat Stakes.

Artistic Diva stayed up for second, three-quarters of a length ahead of 30-1 long shot Buy Sell Hold. Bootsy’s Hadenough was fourth.

Happy Like a Fool debuted with a four-length win at Keeneland last April, then spent the summer in England where she ran twice, finishing second in the Queen Mary Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot and sixth in the Sky Bet Lowther Stakes (G2) at York prior to the Matron.

Photo of Happy Like a Fool by Dottie Miller.


“She broke really well. I just chased her out of there to get position. When I asked her at the top of the lane, she really responded. (Trainer) Wesley (Ward) did a good job of having her ready. It’s pretty sloppy; it’s not the worst thing and she could handle it. You have to pay attention to the [track] bias. It seems like it is changing every race. One race is speed, then another race they are coming off the pace. It’s pretty fair – you just have to pay attention.”

— Tyler Gaffalione, winning jockey



  • Winner paid: $10.40 – $5.00 – $4.00
  • Winning time: 1:10.12
  • Margins: 6 1/2 lengths from Happy Like a Fool to Artistic Diva in second, another three-quarters of a length back to Buy Sell Hold in third
  • Winner’s record: 6-3-1-0, purse earnings of $257,697


  • Owner: Merriebelle Stable, Michael B. Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Mrs. John Magnier
  • BreederWesley Ward
  • Pedigree: Distorted Humor-Ladyofthesummerwine, by Sky Mesa
  • Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione
  • Trainer: Wesley Ward


  1. #9 – Good Move (3-1): *** BEST BET *** Very quick daughter of Broken Vow is a perfect 2 for 2 in gate-to-wire fashion earning 90+ BRIS#s in each; flattered by runner-up in latest who came back to win an OC75k/n1x; sloppy track could boost her chances based on bullet work over it 
  2.  #8 – Almond Roca (5-1): Turf to dirt angle as she showed early speed then weakened going two turns in G3 FL Oaks; has consistently finished her 6 furlong efforts in sub-13 seconds; gets plenty of pace to chase 
  3.  #1 – Happy Like a Fool (5-1): Wesley Ward trainee burst onto the scene in debut last year and has only raced four times since; may have been short in G3 Beaumont in ’18 debut and/or not up for 7 furlongs; tough rail assignment for one who will try catch leg-weary speed 


Longshot Buy Sell Hold, off at 34-1, was squeezed back soon after the break, found herself well off the lead, came five wide and rallied for a good third, missing second by less than a length while four clear of the rest.