Runhappy Returns in Ack Ack

Runhappy in the winner's circle after the Breeders' Cup Sprint (photo from the Houston Chronicle)

Runhappy in the winner’s circle after the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (photo from the Houston Chronicle)

Runhappy makes his long awaited return to the racetrack Saturday in the one-mile, Grade III Ack Ack Handicap at Churchill Downs. A bone bruise delayed his return to the races, but, according to clockers, he could not be doing any better with his morning workouts since returning to the work tab.

If Runhappy returns in good order today, the rest of the field will be running for second.  Here is a chart detailing Runhappy’s last four races in 2015:

RACE GRADE TRACK BRISNET

SPEED FIGURE

MALIBU 1 SA 106
BREEDERS CUP SPRINT 1 KEE 106
PHOENIX 3 KEE 95
KINGS BISHOP 1 SAR 110

The son of Super Saver is the only Grade I winner in the field. If you were to take his lowest Brisnet speed rating from this chart (95), the only horse that ran a number higher in its last race was The Truth or Else, who recorded a 97 in the Grade I Forego.

The only question mark is whether or not Runhappy will be able to handle eight furlongs. He has an advantage in that the mile distance at Churchill Downs is only a one-turn affair. In contrast, the Breeders’ Cup Mile will be two turns at Santa Anita next month.

This could pose a problem for a horse that is a natural one-turn horse, especially if Frosted ends up running in the Breeders’ Cup Mile and not the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Today will be a big step for Runhappy to answer some of these Breeders’ Cup questions. I know I am just excited to see him get back on the track again.

Looking at the contenders in the Ack Ack today, I think Mr Z (12-1) can fire big off of a layoff to get a piece. The D. Wayne Lukas charge was busy knocking heads with American Pharoah, Dortmund, Runhappy and Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Liam’s Map last season.  He should be ready to roll for his four-year-old debut.

Iron Fist (4-1) will run in the Ack Ack after throwing a clunker in his seasonal debut. He did make a nice impression last season with a string of nice efforts to finish out his three-year-old season, including finishing second, well ahead of Mr Z in the Grade II Pennsylvania Derby. I look for him to take a step forward today, but I’m not sure that will be enough to scare Runhappy if he is rolling.

Tom’s Ready (8-1) is an interesting three-year-old that I have followed all season. He has talent, but in a mile race, I wish he showed a tad bit more speed. He likes to put himself too far back early, which leaves him with a lot to do late. If the race completely falls apart, he has a chance to make an impact, but, today, I am keeping him below the other picks.

Selections

5-Runhappy (1-2 morning line odds)
4-Mr Z (12-1)
1-Iron Fist (4-1)
3-Tom’s Ready (8-1)

Andrew Morisch
Drew Morisch, aka “Drew Mo” or the “Bloghorse,” has been an avid sports fan since he was born. Growing up in Nebraska, it was easy for him to fall in love with football and horse racing. He became a huge horse racing fan by attending Ak-Sar-Ben race track before its gates closed (sadly) for the last time in 1995.

Horses such as Breeders’ Cup Classic champion Black Tie Affair, Preakness winner Gate Dancer and local favorite Who Doctor Who all graced the dirt at Ak-Sar-Ben and helped power Drew’s passion for the Sport of Kings.

Drew has other passions to go along with horse racing. He is a big Nebraska Cornhuskers fan. You will usually find him tailgating at some undisclosed location on game days. Drew loves crunching numbers and analyzing data. Whether it’s PE ratios on stocks, speed figures in horse racing, or assist-to-turnover ratios in basketball, there is no such thing as too much information in his book. Drew also plays fantasy sports.

You interact with Drew on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DrewMorisch or follow him on Twitter @thebloghorse.

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