With Edgar Prado shelved for the time being, Runhappy breezed with Gary Stevens at Santa Anita Park in preparation for the Malibu Stakes. The three-year old colt has racked up a fantastic 5-0-0 record in 6 races, which has included wins at Breeders’ Cup Sprint and King’s Bishop. He’ll go for a sixth race, and his first at Santa Anita Park, on December 26th for a late Christmas present.
Trainer Laura Wohlers was pleased with the results Stevens provided during the fast paced breeze. “He looked good, the track was playing a little slow and there’s a lot of moisture in the track. We’re just trying to get him ready for the distance.” The Malibu Stakes is a 7-furlong sprint. Runhappy was clocked at 1:25.40 during the breeze today.
There is major anticipation for the opening day of racing at Santa Anita, with the Malibu Stakes standing as the marquee event and expectations couldn’t be higher for Runhappy who has won $1,301,300 and two Grade-1 stakes races this year. However, he won’t know who he’ll be racing against until nominations are submitted by December 17th with entries being pulled on December 21st.
However, Runhappy gets the benefit of being ridden by Gary Stevens after losing Prado. Both are hall of famers. Prado suffered an injury at Gulfstream over the weekend, and Runhappy’s connections were quick to take advantage of Gary Stevens’ availability. Stevens has won just over 5,000 races in North America and is one of the toughest jockeys on the planet. Prior to a knee replacement in 2014, Stevens competed with a completely torn ACL. This will be a sudden switch for Runhappy, who has been ridden by Prado for his last three races but he could not be in better hands.
One of those races was the King’s Bishop, Runhappy’s first GR1 stakes victory, which is significant because it is also 7-furlongs. His last two victories at the BC Sprint and the Phoenix were both 6-furlongs.
Stay tuned for more coverage on the upcoming Malibu Stakes on December 26th.