LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 12, 2016) – James McIngvale’s Runhappy, winner of last year’s TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) here and the Eclipse Award winner as champion sprinter of 2015, worked a mile in 1:38.80 under jockey Gary Stevens over a fast track early Wednesday morning.
Runhappy stood at the gap entering the track before backtracking to the three-quarter pole. He worked from the half-mile pole to the half-mile pole and produced fractions of :23, :46.60, :58.80, 1:11.80, 1:25 and 1:38.80.
“I wanted to get him around two turns,” trainer Laura Wohlers said of Runhappy, who finished fourth in the Oct. 1 Ack Ack (G3), a one-turn mile race at Churchill Downs, in his first start in more than nine months.
“Gary said he was as smooth as silk. He gave him a little breather around the second turn and he finished strong. I wanted Gary to get on him since he had not been on him since December (in the Grade 1 Malibu at Santa Anita).”
Stevens flew to Louisville Tuesday afternoon, spent the night there before coming to Keeneland for the work and was scheduled to return to Southern California this afternoon.
“The trip was worth it,” said Stevens, who has won 10 Breeders’ Cup races. “I didn’t know how long it would take, but we accomplished the mission.”
Wohlers plans to work Runhappy one more time before a scheduled ship to California on Oct. 23 for a start in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Las Vegas Dirt Mile (G1) to be run Nov. 4 at Santa Anita.
“His next work will be here or at The Thoroughbred Center,” Wohlers said. “I like it here with the turns.”
After Runhappy won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, he had a break before shipping to Santa Anita three weeks before the Dec. 26 Malibu.
“The weather was starting to get bad here and I wanted him to get used to the time change and a track that he never had been on before,” Wohlers said. “He will probably work five or six days out from the race.”
Pre-entries for all 13 Breeders’ Cup races close Monday, Oct. 24. McIngvale, who was at Keeneland for the work, said Runhappy would be pre-entered in the Dirt Mile only.