Smile Happy on Target for G1 Stephen Foster, Rattle N Roll to G3 Blame

May 12, 2023

Smile Happy after his victory in the Alysheba (G2) over Art Collector (Daniella Ricci/Past The Wire)

Churchill Downs Press Release

LOUISVILLE, Ky.— Lucky Seven Stable’s Smile Happy is on target for the $1 million Stephen Foster (Grade I) on July 1 following his victory in the $600,000 Alysheba Stakes (GII) on Kentucky Oaks Day, according to trainer Kenny McPeek.

“(Smile Happy) will go to the Stephen Foster and Rattle N Roll, who’s owned by the Mackin family, will go the Blame Stakes,” McPeek said.

Smile Happy recorded his co-best Brisnet Speed Rating of 106 in the Alysheba, tying his mark from his 4-year-old debut in a conditioned allowance event at Oaklawn. The son of Runhappy finished eighth in Kentucky Derby 148 and went to the sidelines until March. In the Alysheba, Smile Happy made a bold move around the far turn and powered clear for a two-length score under jockey Brian Hernandez Jr.

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The $225,000 Blame (GIII), featuring Smile Happy’s multiple graded stakes-winning stablemate Rattle N Roll, will be run Saturday, June 3 as part of Stephen Foster Preview Day. One month later, the Stephen Foster, which was elevated back to Grade I status this year, will highlight the card as one of six stakes events.

Once again, the Stephen Foster will be used as a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In Classic Division” qualifying race where the winner will receive an automatic berth to the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) on Nov. 4 at Santa Anita.

The Stephen Foster also will be telecast on NBC and Peacock as part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.

Along with the Stephen Foster, the spectacular July 1 day of racing at Churchill Downs will include the $400,000 Fleur de Lis (GII), $400,000 Wise Dan (GII), $225,000 American Derby (Listed), $225,000 Kelly’s Landing (Listed) and $225,000 Tepin.

Preps for all six of those stakes events will be held June 3 at Churchill Downs: the $225,000 Arlington Stakes (GIII) (prep for the Wise Dan), Blame (prep for the Stephen Foster), $225,000 Shawnee (GIII) (prep for the Fleur de Lis), $225,000 Regret (GIII) (prep for the Tepin), $225,000 Aristides (Listed) (prep for the Kelly’s Landing) and $225,000 Audubon (Listed) (prep for the American Derby).

Nominations for Stephen Foster Preview Day close Saturday, May 20.

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