Runhappy back home at The Thoroughbred Center; Nyquist was special from ‘Day One’

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TwinSpires Staff

November 1st, 2015

Edited Press Release

TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint and Turf Sprint

Trainer Maria Borell said Sunday morning that Runhappy, who set a track record in winning the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), returned to The Thoroughbred Center training facility in Lexington, Kentucky, on Saturday.

In addition to his traditional on-track conditioning, Runhappy swims in The Thoroughbred Center-operated pool and enjoys turnout time there in a grassy paddock.

“He went home last night to get a good night’s sleep in his own stall,” Borell. “He came out of the race well. We don’t have exact plans; we wanted to see how he comes out of the race. We will figure it out in a few days.”

Runhappy has a strong fan base in Lexington and via social media. A video of Runhappy being roused from a nap by groom Cordell Anderson has a reported 4.4-million views. A picture of him sleeping attracted more than 2,600 “likes” and nearly 250 “shares” within 14 hours of a Facebook posting.





Trainer Maria Borell tweeted out Sunday that Runhappy will no longer be in her barn:

Later on Sunday, the official RunHappy Facebook page released the following statement:


Private Zone exited his runner-up finish in the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint well for trainer Jorge Navarro.

“He came out in great condition,” Navarro said.

In his third attempt in the Sprint, the six-year-old Macho Uno gelding improved his placing after a 10th-place finish in 2013 and a third-place result in 2014.

Navarro confirmed that Private Zone will fly to Florida to join his string and is under consideration for a defense of his title in the Cigar Mile H. (G1) at Aqueduct on November 28.

Wesley Ward’s 2014 Eclipse Award champion Judy the Beauty, who finished fifth in her defense attempt in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1), has been retired sound, according to her owner-trainer.

Ward hopes to breed the six-year-old chestnut mare to Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner American Pharoah in 2016.

Trainer Kathleen O’Connell couldn’t be more pleased with her Lady Shipman’s second-place finish by a neck to Mongolian Saturday in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.

“She ran a really, really brilliant race I thought, on a turf that doesn’t necessarily favor her. She seems to like the very firm turf,” O’Connell said.  “For a three-year-old running against older boys, I thought it was a valiant effort. And she almost pulled it off. She had a lot of things going against her.

“She seemed to come out of the race great. She’s just been a pleasure to have. There’s nothing on the horizon for her so it’s a good time to give her a break,” she said.

“I’ve always said baseball players don’t play baseball all year, football players don’t play football all year, but these horses continually go. So we try to time it with a little break. She got a break after she broke the track record at OBS before she started her summer campaign,” O’Connell added. “She’ll get to be a horse – like going to summer camp.” 

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies

The words “Day One” come up a lot when assistant trainer Jack Sisterson talks about Doug O’Neill stable star Nyquist, who wrapped up champion two-year-old male honors with victory in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Keeneland.

“From Day One, we could tell he was going to be special,” Sisterson said. “His temperament and mind were all class right from the start.

“His training and working from Day One were remarkable. His fantastic mind was beyond any other two-year-old in the barn.”

Sisterson joined the O’Neill team just prior to I’ll Have Another winning the 2012 Kentucky Derby.

“It’s been a great time for me. Working for Doug and with horses from Mr. (J. Paul) Reddam (of Reddam Racing) has been quite a dream trip,” said the native of Durham, England, who grew up around horses and hoped at one point he might be a jockey. That didn’t work out for the tall, slender Sisterson.

As to Nyquist’s deportment in the barn, Sisterson said, “Nothing much fazes him, he’s pretty laid-back. He has a playful side, though, and he will try to nip you once in a while. Overall, though, he’s pretty quiet and takes good care of himself.”

Nyquist and his Breeders’ Cup stablemates Ralis, Land Over Sea, Sharla Rae and Jimmy Bouncer will head to their Southern California home base on Tuesday. Joining them also will be Bailoutbobby, who won the Marathon S. (G2) at Keeneland on Friday.

Trainer Kenny McPeek said his two juveniles – Dothraki Queen in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) and Rated R Superstar in the Juvenile – came out of their races in good shape. Dothraki Queen closed for third behind Songbird and Rachel’s Valentina, while Rated R Superstar was ninth.

Dothraki Queen was last in the field of 10 at the half, and eighth after three-quarters before charging through a gap at the rail to get up to nail third.

“She ran huge and actually so did he – he broke bad,” McPeek stated. “She got stopped a little bit in the turn – I think she’s second if that doesn’t happen. But we were pleased. She’s a really gusty filly. We’re going to have a lot of fun with her next year.

“Both of them will probably run back at Churchill, in the Jockey Club and Golden Rod. That’s the tentative plan,” he said. “We’ll nominate and take it from there.”

Both Grade 2 stakes will be contested on November 28 under the TwinSpires.

All three of Keith Desormeaux’s two-year-olds exited their Breeders’ Cup efforts in good shape.

Right There finished ninth of 10 in the Juvenile Fillies after steadying in the first turn and going very wide into the stretch. No immediate plans have been made for the daughter of Eskendereya, who will return to Desormeaux’s California string.

Swipe and Exaggerator, who finished second and fourth in the Juvenile, exited their efforts in fine form, according to Desormeaux. Swipe finished a game second to Nyquist for the fourth consecutive time, following runner-up efforts in the Best Pal S. (G2), Del Mar Futurity (G1) and FrontRunner S. (G1).

For the fourth consecutive time, the margin between them shrunk, progressing from 5 1/4, 3 3/4, three-quarters of a length and finally a half-length on Saturday at Keeneland.

Exaggerator, who finished fourth as the co-second choice, will join his stablemates at Santa Anita. Both he and Swipe will naturally be aimed toward the Triple Crown trail, but a start before the end of 2015 for either has not be ruled out.

“They all came out fine,” Desormeaux said. “It will be good to get everyone back under one roof.”

Runhappy photo courtesy of Lauren J. Pomeroy/
Nyquist photo courtesy of Jamie Newell/