RUNHAPPY supporters must have felt like they were living alongside Bill Murray in Groundhog Day this week when RUNHAPPY registered his third winner in three days and fifth in a week on Friday evening at Gulfstream Park with Happy Champ.
Making his first start of the year, the Peter Walder trainee went off as a heavy favorite in the one mile dirt race and quickly showed why.
The colt broke a step slow and was briefly last with Miguel Angel Vasquez letting the young horse get comfortable for a few strides. It didn’t take long for Happy Champ’s natural speed to take him to the front where only one horse could stick with him as they opened up over ten lengths on the rest of the field. That rival started fading with a little over a quarter mile left to go and Happy Champ was home free from there. In the stretch, Happy Champ’s only job was to extend his margin and extend he did, beating the second placed horse by 12 ½ lengths and everyone else by 15 or more.
A $130,000 weanling purchase at the Keeneland November Sale, Happy Champ races for Paradise Farms Corp.
A half-brother to stakes winners Now Spun and Little Nick V among four winners from five to race out of the winning A.P. Indy mare Campionessa, Happy Champ was bred by Hickstead Farm.
Campionessa herself is out of Grade 1 winner Pacific Squall and is a half-sister to the dam of stakes winner and Grade 2 second Empressof the Nile along with the dam of Grade 3 winner Sicupira Gais and stakes winner Came West. This is also the family of Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up Rumbo.
Campionessa returned to RUNHAPPY in 2020.
Happy Champ is one of two winners from two runners for RUNHAPPY out of A.P. Indy mares alongside his sire’s stakes placed Runway Magic. A champion and record-setting racehorse, RUNHAPPY’s 10 winners in 2021 is the best of any second crop stallion.