LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 19) – James McIngvale’s Runhappy completed the Kentucky portion of his training for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Las Vegas Dirt Mile (G1) to be run Nov. 4 at Santa Anita by working a mile in 1:39 Wednesday morning at Keeneland.
On a fast main track after the morning renovation break with Marcus O’Donnell up, Runhappy broke off at the three-eighths pole and posted fractions of :13.20, :24.60, :36.60, :48, 1:00, 1:12.40, 1:25.20 and 1:39.
“The main thing this morning is I wanted to see him pick it up at the second turn,” trainer Laura Wohlers said. “This time he did, and we want him to realize it is not a one-turn thing.”
Runhappy, winner of the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) here last year and champion sprinter of 2015, worked a mile in 1:38.80 on Oct. 12 for his first drill since finishing fourth in the one-mile Ack Ack (G3) at Churchill Downs on Oct. 1. The Ack Ack was Runhappy’s first start since winning the Malibu (G1) at Santa Anita on Dec. 26.
“I think he will go the distance,” Wohlers said of the Dirt Mile, which will be the colt’s first two-turn race since January 2015. “He has had two good mile works and we don’t need to do a lot more. I thought maybe the mile would be a little quicker (this morning), but the track looked deeper than last week.”
On Sunday, Runhappy is scheduled to ship to Santa Anita, where Wohlers plans to give him one work prior to the Breeders’ Cup.
“We will probably work five or six days out and maybe just a half-mile,” Wohlers said. “He will go to the paddock and gate even though he has been there before. We are big on schooling.”
In his lone Santa Anita appearance, Runhappy won the seven-furlong Malibu by 3½ lengths with Gary Stevens aboard in front-running fashion.
“I would like to see him go to the front and open up,” Wohlers said of the upcoming test. “Gary knows he likes to run like that.”