Skip Dickstein

Runhappy Works Five Furlongs in :58

Sprint champ returns to Keeneland Sept. 1

In his second public workout of the year, James McIngavale’s champion sprint male Runhappy  worked five furlongs in :58 at Keeneland in the early morning hours of Sept. 1.

The 4-year-old son of Super Saver , with exercise rider Marcus O’Donald up, was one of just a handful of horses on the track around 5:45 a.m. EDT. A little slow to get going for the work amid a few raindrops, Runhappy went his opening furlong in :15 3/5 before zipping through a half-mile that was clocked in :44. Following the five-furlong split he was timed in 1:11 3/5 for his six-furlong gallop out time.

“Beautiful,” was the only word from O’Donald.

Bloodstock agents Finn Green and Doug Cauthen were in the Keeneland grandstand. Cauthen offered: “He’s one fast son of a gun. Well, that was impressive.”

Runhappy’s first work came Aug. 25 when he went three furlongs in :34 4/5.


“He definitely has changed physically from 3 to 4, it’s amazing,” said trainer Laura Wohlers. “He’s grown up quite a bit; filled out. He’s using himself better and everybody is doing a great job with him, you know Cordell (Anderson) does a great job with him. Marcus can get him to relax when he’s galloping him, which is key because if you’re going to breeze like this…he can be hard on himself.”

“He came out of the breeze last week really well,” Wohlers said. “If he comes out as well after this, I’ll be really thrilled. I think this was a little harder on him this morning. He’s blowing a little bit which he wasn’t last time. But that’s part of getting fit. He’s just something else.”

Wohlers and McIngvale’s itinerary for Runhappy is to target Churchill Downs’ one-turn mile Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) Oct. 1 with an eye toward the Nov. 4 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park. In the coming days the plan is to van Runhappy to Louisville for some schooling and track work there.

“I just need to look at the calendar,” Wohlers said. “We definitely want one, if not two, trips over to Churchill. That surface is a funny surface. We’ll see how he goes. He loves Keeneland.”

And that he does. He set a track record for six furlongs in 1:08.58 in winning last fall’s TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I) and also won the Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes (gr. III). He finished up the year with a 3 1/2-length tour de force in Santa Anita’s Malibu Stakes (gr. I). For his career he’s 7-0-0 in eight starts and has earned $1,481,300. Bred by Wayne, Gray, and Bryan Lyster, Runhappy was a $200,000 Keeneland September sale graduate in 2013. Wohlers and McIngvale’s team will be scouring the barns later in the month at Keeneland for the next big runner. McIngvale purchased a Jimmy Creed  yearling at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July sale and a Frankel colt at Fasig-Tipton Saratoga for $500,000.

Following his work Thursday, Runhappy cooled out quickly while being hand-walked by Barn 31, was loaded back on his trailer and returned to his base across town at the Kentucky Training Center. Within an hour he was in his 350-gallon Nautilus equine salt water spa before being turned out.