Gallery Racing announced Nov. 12 that 2015 champion sprinter Runhappy has been retired from racing and will enter stud at Claiborne Farm in 2017, where his first-season fee is set at $25,000.
Undefeated in sprint competition, Runhappy won at six different tracks. He won on both all-weather and on dirt surfaces labeled fast, sloppy, and muddy.
A breakout winner in his 2-year-old debut by 8 1/4 lengths, Runhappy continued his dominance at 3, winning six of his seven starts en route to an Eclipse Award for champion sprinter.
His winning performances included a resounding four-length victory in the Ketel One King's Bishop Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga Race Course, in which he stopped the clock in a stakes-record time of 1:20.54 for seven furlongs. It was the fastest running of the King's Bishop in the race's 32-year history.
Later that month, he returned to Keeneland for the Breeders' Cup. Facing a 14-horse field that included four-time grade I winner Private Zone, Runhappy closed with determination to win the TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I), completing six furlongs in 1:08.54, a track record.
Runhappy finished his 3-year-old campaign with another decisive victory, this time by 3 1/2 lengths in the Malibu Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park Dec. 26.
The victory in the Malibu was Runhappy's sixth win in a row and third grade I score. His efforts earned him nominations for three Eclipse Awards: champion sprinter, champion 3-year-old male, and Horse of the Year.
"The decision to retire Runhappy was both difficult and easy," said owner Jim McIngvale. "On one hand, we wish he could run forever. This is by far the most incredible horse we've ever owned, and he's brought so much joy to our family and his fans.
"But on the other hand, we've always pledged to do what's best for the health and happiness of Runhappy. For that reason, we put our strong emotional attachments aside and decided to retire him from racing. Now we're filled with gratitude and enthusiasm watching Runhappy move into the same stall occupied by Secretariat, Unbridled, Easy Goer, and Bold Ruler to begin his stud career at the world-renowned Claiborne Farm."
Bred in Kentucky by Wayne, Gray, and Bryan Lyster, the 4-year-old son of Super Saver was purchased by McIngvale for $200,000 at the 2013 Keeneland September Sale. He is the first foal out of the Broken Vow mare Bella Jolie.
In 10 starts from ages 2 to 4, Runhappy earned $1,496,250. His final two starts and only races as a 4-year-old were both at a mile. His 2016 debut was a fourth-place run in the Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III), and he ended his career with an eighth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I).
"We are thrilled and honored to welcome Runhappy to Claiborne," said Claiborne Farm representative Bernie Sams. "He came out of his last race healthy and sound, but everyone felt the timing was right. He is one of the most impressive racehorses I have ever seen and when you start to dig into his pedigree, it's no surprise why he was so successful. We obviously have a great deal of confidence that he'll pass his tremendous speed onto his progeny."