RUNHAPPY’s New York champion son Rotknee put on a show in his home state on Friday when the William Butler homebred romped to a 4 ¾ length Allowance Optional Claiming victory at Belmont Park.
Looking for a second straight victory, Rotknee immediately went to the lead out of the gate and kept a stranglehold on the pace. It was easy work for the 4-year-old, who never let anyone get close to him and steadily built up his margin throughout the run. Asked to put in some effort in the stretch by jockey Jose Lezcano, he had nearly five lengths on the field in the end to show why he was a heavy favorite.
It was the seventh career victory for the colt trained by Mike Maker, who has now earned $383,530 in purse money and came into 2023 with three stakes victories last season. He has yet to step up to the stakes level this year but has put on a show with three top two finishes in four starts.
RUNHAPPY also had another big-margin winner on Friday after Run Poppy broke his maiden at Delaware Park.
Racing over six furlongs on the dirt, Run Poppy allowed another horse to have the lead early in the race while keeping the pressure on that runner. He took control as the field raced around the turn and was kept to his task in the stretch by John Hiraldo. Run Poppy proved much the best with a 6 ¾ length victory in the Maiden Special Weight.
Run Poppy has finished in the top two in three of the four races he has finished for over $50,000 in earnings.
RUNHAPPY is the sire of 42 winners in 2023 with three of those winning stakes and four earning blacktype this year.