Claiborne freshman sires Runhappy and Ironicus’ first progeny kick off Thursday and Friday cards at Churchill Downs
On Thursday, trainer Laura Wohlers will send out a filly by Runhappy named Prettyhappy in the first race at Churchill Downs. Bred and owned by James McIngvale, also known as Mattress Mack and the exuberant owner of Runhappy himself, she is out of the Stormy Atlantic mare Snow Lass.
“All of them have very good minds,” Wohlers said of the Runhappy 2-year-olds in her barn, “how they react to things, and how smart they are, and how they pick up what we want them to do very quickly. Most of them are showing some speed, so we are pretty happy with the way they all are.”
Jockey Adam Beschizza will have the mount on Prettyhappy in Churchill Downs’ Thursday opener, a 4 ½-furlong maiden special weight sprint for 2-year-old fillies.
Ironicus also has his first starter entered this week on Friday’s first race at Churchill Downs. The Claiborne homebred Cuz is the first registered foal out of the winning Arch mare, Lope. He is trained by John Hancock. Corey Lanerie has the mount in the 4 1/2 furlongs $79,000 maiden race that kicks off the card.
Ironicus was a multiple graded stakes-winning millionaire, and is the highest earner by Distorted Humor at stud. He set a new course record for 1 1/6th miles at Saratoga (1:38.54), and defeated 20 G1 winners in his career, including Constitution, Mshawish, and Tourist. He is half to four graded stakes winners from a stallion-making family that includes fellow Claiborne stallion Flatter. Ironicus stands for a fee of $5,000.
Runhappy made his name on the course with a six-race winning streak the second half of his 3-year-old season in 2015. That run included a Breeders’ Cup Sprint triumph at Keeneland and two other Grade 1 stakes scores in Saratoga’s King’s Bishop and Santa Anita’s Malibu.
Runhappy stands at Claiborne Farm for a $25,000 fee. McIngvale’s ad campaign for the medication-free stallion has included sponsorships of Saratoga’s Travers Stakes, Belmont Park’s Metropolitan Mile and last year’s Kentucky Downs meet.
Record-setting, medication-free champion sprinter Runhappy has seen his 2-year-olds sell up to $475,000 at OBS March, and has 19 additional 2-year-olds cataloged at the rescheduled OBS Spring Sale in June. In his freshman year he covered 129 mares.
McIngvale began a two-year program in conjunction with Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in 2019 to offer a $100,000 bonus for Runhappy progeny who win non-restricted maiden special weight races. He is extending that bonus program at Belmont and Saratoga.
Prettyhappy’s competition Thursday will include two American Pharoah fillies making their debuts. Mad Maddy, out of the Tale of the Cat mare Tigress Tale, is the 3-1 second choice for trainer Steve Asmussen. Ricardo Santano, Jr., has the mount.
Wesley Ward will send out Tequila Queen, the 2-1 favorite, piloted by Tyler Gaffalione. Out of Lion King mare Agave Kiss, she fits the profile of a young turf sprinter Ward might consider for Royal Ascot when its meet opens in June.
For a complete rundown of Churchill’s Thursday and Friday cards https://www.churchilldowns.com/horsemen/racing/overnights/
Past The Wire Staff
Photo: Runhappy set a new track record of 1:08.58 under Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado in the 2015 TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) at Churchill Downs. (Claiborne Farm)