Going off as the race favorite, Happy American kicked off RUNHAPPY’s week in style with a 2 ¾ length Maiden Special Weight victory at Churchill Downs.
Racing over 1 ¼ miles, Happy American had only a few horses beat as he galloped over five lengths behind the leader in the spread out field. The colt slowly advanced with four furlongs left to go but had plenty of work to do to catch the leading The Goes Harvard, who had pulled away from the field.
Happy American proved that he was up for the challenge, angling to the center of the track for clear running room. In the final furlong, Happy American caught the longtime leader and rolled right on by to have a widening 2 ¾ lengths on him in the end with the rest of the field over 10 lengths behind.
Trained by Neil Pessin for Lothenbach Stables, the Claiborne Farm-bred colt was a $385,000 Keeneland September purchase for his owner.
Happy American is a half-brother to the Grade 2 winning Well Monied, who is the granddam of Friday’s Kentucky Oaks (G1) runner Will’s Secret. Out of a mare who produced eight winners, Happy American is also a half-brother to FLATTER’s Grade 3 winner and Grade 1-placed Economic Model and stakes winners Jimmy Simms and Your Love with another half-sibling the dam of LEA’s stakes winner Gibberish.
Each of Happy American’s first three dams have produced stakes winners with his stakes winning granddam Our Dear Ruth a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Nany’s Sweep.
Seeing his 15th winner of the year with Happy American’s victory, RUNHAPPY is a leading second crop sire both by winners and stakes horses in 2021.