Smiles, Everyone…Smiles

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Smile Happy | Coady

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Smile Happy (Runhappy) built on a monster 'TDN Rising Star'-worthy debut victory on closing day at Keeneland Oct. 29 with an equally eye-catching score in Saturday's GII Kentucky Jockey Club S. Saturday at Churchill Downs, establishing himself as one of the early favorites for the GI Kentucky Derby about six months down the road.

Welcome to Fantasy Island, Lucky Seven Stable.

A generous 24-5 third favorite despite the domination of that towering 5 1/2-length graduation, Smile Happy landed in about fifth spot, just ahead of centerfield, as Street Sense S. hero Howling Time (Not This Time) found his way to the front and galloped them along at a sensible pace. Guided out into the clear to punch the breeze four wide and covering favored Classic Causeway (Giant's Causeway) down the backstretch, Smile Happy traveled ominously well within the grasp of Corey Lanerie and was poised to pounce despite a wide passage around the second turn. Advancing on his own courage as the field neared the entrance to the stretch, Smile Happy circled up four deep, hit the front a furlong and a half from home under a left-handed stick and stayed on powerfully for the win. White Abbario (Race Day) was a game, but no-menace third.

“You'd think this horse ran 10 times already with how mature he acts,” Lanerie said. “He's very rateable and easy to ride. I felt very confident with him at the half-mile pole. I could tell I had a lot of horse beneath me. I got him into the right spot and he really kicked clear in the stretch. He's got a bright future.”

Smile Happy capped a four-timer on the afternoon for trainer Ken McPeek, who said that Smile Happy would follow the Florida route back to Churchill next spring.

“We'll probably take it easy with him in December and January and start deciding his future in February.” said McPeek, who also won the 2001 Kentucky Jockey Club with Repent (Louis Quatorze) and was forced to scratch morning-line favorite Tiz the Bomb (Hit It a Bomb) Saturday morning. “At this stage we have a lot of options on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. It's a good problem to have.”

Pedigree Notes:

Smile Happy is the sixth black-type winner and second graded winner for the resurgent Runhappy, who also has GSW and GI Breeders' Cup Sprint third and fellow 'Rising Star' Following Sea flying the flag. The latter heads to next weekend's GI Cigar Mile H. at Aqueduct.

One of 49 winners for his sire this year, Smile Happy is out of a half-sister to SW Miracle Mets (Metfield) and is his dam's most recent produce.

Saturday, Churchill Downs
KENTUCKY JOCKEY CLUB S.-GII, $400,000, Churchill Downs, 11-27, 2yo, 1 1/16m, 1:43.94, ft.
1–SMILE HAPPY, 122, c, 2, by Runhappy
                        1st Dam: Pleasant Smile, by Pleasant Tap
   2nd Dam: Relax and Smile, by Relaunch
   3rd Dam: Bunch of Smiles, by Graustark
   'TDN Rising Star' 1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED
   STAKES WIN. ($175,000 Wlg '19 KEENOV; $185,000 Ylg '20
FTKSEL). O-Lucky Seven Stable (Mackin); B-Moreau
Bloodstock Int'l Inc. & White Bloodstock LLC (KY); T-Kenneth
McPeek; J-Corey J. Lanerie. $234,410. Lifetime Record:
2-2-0-0, $284,810. Werk Nick Rating: First SW on this cross.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Classic Causeway, 122, c, 2, Giant's Causeway–Private
World, by Thunder Gulch. O-Kentucky West Racing LLC &
Clarke M. Cooper; B-Kentucky West Racing LLC & Clarke M.
Cooper Family Living Trust (KY); T-Brian A. Lynch. $76,100.
3–White Abarrio, 122, c, 2, Race Day–Catching Diamonds, by
Into Mischief. 1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE.
($7,500 Ylg '20 OBSWIN; $40,000 2yo '21 OBSMAR). O-C2
Racing Stable LLC & La Milagrosa Stable, LLC; B-Spendthrift
Farm, LLC (KY); T-Saffie A. Joseph, Jr. $38,050.
Margins: 3 1/4, 2 3/4, HF. Odds: 4.80, 1.40, 6.70.
Also Ran: Ben Diesel, Howling Time, Vivar, Call Me Midnight, Red Knobs, Guntown, Texas Red Hot, Ready Pursuit. Scratched: Mannix (Ire), Rich Strike, Tiz the Bomb.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs, or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

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