Runhappy left no doubt at the 2015 Malibu Stakes as to who is the best sprinter in the country. In front of a huge crowd of 44,873 at Santa Anita Park, Runhappy claimed victory by 3 1/2 lengths in the 7 furlong sprint. The Malibu Stakes carried a purse of $300,000 as a GR1 stakes race this past Saturday.
“When we brought him to the receiving barn today, he looked like he had his game face on. I knew he’d run well,” commented Laura Wohlers who took over the reigns as Runhappy’s trainer prior to the race. Wohlers replaced Maria Borrell who has entered in to a lawsuit against Runhappy’s handlers over purse money distribution. It was Wohlers first victory as a trainer.
Gary Stevens remarked Runhappy’s immense performance at the Malibu Stakes. “That was only the second time I’ve sat on him and to get to feel that power coming into the stretch was awesome.” That’s high praise coming from a Hall of Fame jockey with more than his fair share of experience.
Runhappy stormed past the finish line with a strong time of 1:27.76. He paid out $3.00, $2.60 and $2.10.
Marking placed second after attempting to track down Runhappy out of the gates. He began to fall behind down the stretch and never matched what Runhappy brought to the track. Lord Nelson trailed in at third. El Kabeir, who was expected to be a more of an upstart, finished fourth while Watershed, Pain and Misery and Bad Read Sanchez rounded out the order.
The three-year old son of Super Saver claimed his sixth consecutive victory and performed exceptionally in his follow-up performance to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint where he bested Private Zone and Favorite Tale. Runhappy also won at the King’s Bishop and the Phoenix earlier in the season.
Fans of Runhappy can rejoice that he’ll be back next season.
Connections to the 2015 Malibu Stakes winner indicated that they’d like to challenge him at longer distances, suggesting that they’d give the one-mile Metropolitan Stakes a shot while gearing the 2016 season around a Breeders’ Cup Sprint title defence. “We’ll give the horse a couple of months off and bring him back in March and begin his training again,” Wohlers noted.
It’s a well deserved rest for one of the best performers of the 2015 season.