Smile Happy Possible for Florida Derby

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Smile Happy | Coady

Lucky Seven Stable's Smile Happy (Runhappy) is among possible candidates for Gulfstream's GI Curlin Florida Derby Apr. 2, according to trainer Ken McPeek. Lucky Seven Stable also owns McPeek-trained Rattle N Roll (Connect), who is scheduled to make his 2022 debut in the GII Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth S. Mar. 5 at Gulfstream. Smile Happy had been expected to make his second start of the year in either the GI Toyota Blue Grass S. at Keeneland Apr. 9 or the GII Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds Mar. 26.

“You may see him in the Florida Derby,” said McPeek, who saddled Harlan's Holiday for a victory in the 2002 renewal. “I'm going to try and keep him and Rattle separated because they have the same owner. You'll see one in the Blue Grass and one in the Florida Derby following the Fountain of Youth.”

Smile Happy and Rattle N Roll are both stabled at Gulfstream. Smile Happy had a series of six workouts at Gulfstream prior to his second-place effort in the Feb. 19 GII Risen Star S. at Fair Grounds.

“This is a really good horse,” said McPeek. “He ran well in New Orleans. I think he could have been a tad closer, but the pace didn't set up well for him. He still showed real bravery to run late. This horse has a very bright future.”

Smile Happy won at first asking at Keeneland Oct. 29, closing from off the pace to win easily going 8 1/2 furlongs. He returned to capture the Nov. 27 GII Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs by 3 1/4 lengths, defeating Classic Causeway (Giant's Causeway), who subsequently won the GIII Sam F. Davis S. at Tampa and third-place finisher White Abarrio (Race Day), winner of the GIII Holy Bull S. at Gulfstream in their respective 2022 debuts.

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