LEXINGTON, KY (Sept. 1, 2016) – On Thursday at 5:50 a.m., champion sprinter and Keeneland September Yearling Sale graduate Runhappy worked 5 furlongs in :58 in his second breeze since beginning his return to competition and being aimed at 1-mile races.
Runhappy and exercise rider Marcus O’Donnell covered a half in :44.80 and galloped out in 1:11.60, according to Keeneland clocker Tom Bridges.
As he did last Thursday, Runhappy, a 4-year-old son of Super Saver, vanned here from trainer Laura Wohlers’ base at Keeneland’s The Thoroughbred Center some 12 miles away. She is pleased with his progress a week after he breezed 3 furlongs in :34.80 at Keeneland in his first serious work of the year.
“From now on, it’s just getting those distances and getting him more prepared to go a mile,” she said, noting how Runhappy is bigger and stronger this year. “I feel like we’re on schedule now for the Ack Ack.”
The Ack Ack (G3) at Churchill on Oct. 1 is the immediate target for Runhappy. Wohlers said the colt could work again at Keeneland and would receive at least one work at Churchill under regular rider Edgar Prado before that race.
Future races could include the Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) on Nov. 4 at Santa Anita. Owner Jim McIngvale, Wohler’s brother-in-law, has a starting spot in the inaugural running of the 1 1/8-mile, $12 million Pegasus World Cup on Jan. 28, 2017, at Gulfstream.
Runhappy was named the 2015 champion sprinter following a campaign in which he won six consecutive races. His graded stakes-winning string included the NYRA.com King’s Bishop (G1) at Saratoga, Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix (G3) and TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Keeneland and Malibu (G1) at Santa Anita. He won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in a track-record 1:08.58 for 6 furlongs.
McIngvale bought Runhappy for $200,000 at the 2013 September Sale. The champion’s half-brother by Exchange Rate is cataloged to this year’s September Sale as Hip No. 208, consigned by Ashview Farm, agent, and is scheduled to sell Sept. 13.
The auction, which will be streamed live on Keeneland.com, runs Sept. 12-25.