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Runhappy Posts Mile Work at Keeneland in Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile Prep

Runhappy Horse

Champion Runhappy Winning the Malibu Stakes (GI) at Santa Anita Dec. 26, 2015 under Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens Photo: Benoit

by Laura Pugh

Gallery Racing’s 2015 sprint champion Runhappy was shipped to Keeneland on Wednesday morning fr his home base of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Center and worked one mile in 1:39 over a fast main track in preparation for the November 4 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (GI) at Santa Anita. The move represented the colt’s first timed move since his fourth-place finish in the Ack Ack Stakes (GIII) at Chuchill Downs on October 1.

The son of Super Saver, who worked the mile from the three-eighths pole, set steady splits of :24.60 for his first quarter before getting caught in :48 seconds for the half and 1:12.40 for six furlongs. He posted a last quarter in :26.60, which to many may seem slow on paper, but isn’t a concern to trainer Laura Wohlers.

“He probably picked it up more around the quarter pole,” Wohlers said. “His fastest part of the breeze was from the wire to around the turn.”

Wohlers went on to note that because of the different nature breeze Runhappy worked closer to six furlongs than the officially listed one-mile distance. As a sprinter, his specialty has been one-turn racing while the mile at Santa Anita is run around two turns on the eight-furlong oval.

“The object of today was to make him understand that while he can start off around one turn, there is a second turn that he can go fast on,” Wohlers said. “I believed we reached that objective today, and we were happy with the breeze.

“He looked good afterwards, cooled out great, his legs look good, and that’s the most important part.”

Wohlers indicated that Runhappy, who is set to ship to California on October 23, would have one more short breeze after he arrives at Santa Anita with an ultimate goal of keeping him sharp and on his toes. After that, Runhappy will likely most jog instead of gallop up to the Breeders’ Cup since the colt tends to get strong in his gallops, according to Wohlers. There’s also some concern with the horse adapting to a new schedule in a new time zone.

“We had a good time there (Santa Anita) last time we went,” Wohlers said. “He really enjoyed the track, it just seemed to be a surface that he really enjoyed. “(The time zone change) is the only thing I think you really need to watch when you go cross country.”

Wohlers also indicated she’ll be waiting with the rest of the racing world for is decision from Godolphin on whether they run grade 1 winner Frosted the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) or Dirt Mile. The decision on where the gray son of Tapit, who worked six furlongs in 1:11 at Greentree on Wednesday, will come sometime on Thursday, according to his trainer, Kiaran McLaughlin.

“(Frosted) ran an unbelievable Met Mile this year,” Wohlers said. “He certainly showed he was a fantastic miler this year, and if he goes in, I think he’ll be our toughest competition.”