First Winner For Claiborne Farm’s Runhappy Comes At Indiana Grand

Runhappy, the most heavily-promoted stallion in America, sired his first winner as the 2-year-old Libertyrun rolled to a 6 1/4-length victory in Wednesday’s fourth race at Indiana Grand Racing and Casino.

James McIngvale — the Houston furniture magnate and philanthropist known as Mattress Mack — has invested mightily to advertise Runhappy, his 2015 champion sprinter who is a stallion at famed Claiborne Farm. As it turns out, McIngvale got a little piece of his investment back as the owner and breeder of Libertyrun.

“That’s the first Runhappy winner, and in Mack’s silks as a matter of fact,” said Kelly Wohlers, who serves as assistant to trainer Laura Wohlers, McIngvale’s sister in law. The Wohlers oversee McIngvale’s racing operation and were very involved in training Runhappy. “So, we’re very proud of him. Very happy for Mack.”

Libertyrun — carrying McIngvale’s blue, white and red silks to victory four days after Independence Day — was exceedingly professional in his racing debut, breaking from post 12 to press the early pace from the outside and then cruising away in the stretch. 

“He’s not a very big horse, but he is very professional,” said jockey Miguel Mena. “He came out of the gate great. When we got to the stretch, he had his ears pricked and I hit him once and he took off running. I hit him one more time and he continued on again. I think he is a very nice horse.”

There have been four other 2-year-olds to race so far from Runhappy’s first crop, which has 69 named foals.

McIngvale is known for his Texas-sized promotions and charitable works. For instance, he opened up his Gallery Furniture showrooms as shelters in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey. He also received worldwide publicity with his “Win It All” promotion where customers who had purchased mattresses or bases totaling at least $3,000 would get their money back if the Houston Astros won baseball’s World Series. Those Gallery Furniture consumers cashed in on the Astros’ 2017 championship and lost in seven games last year. (Mattress Mack made headlines there by wagering millions through sports books to hedge his bet.)

 McIngvale is every bit as enthusiastic in promoting Runhappy by sponsoring stakes and race meets around the country. There also is a $100,000 bonus if a horse sired by Runhappy wins an open maiden race at Belmont Park, Saratoga, Del Mar or Kentucky Downs this summer.

 Asked how much his boss has put into promoting Runhappy, Kelly Wohlers said, “Tons. I’m very emotional right now. It’s absolutely wonderful.

“He loves to train,” he said of Libertyrun. “He’s a very nice athlete. He’s got Runhappy’s mind, but he’s got a little more pep in his step. Runhappy had pep in his step when he got to the paddock. But this horse is all the time on go. He loves what he does.”

Libertyrun, who was born in Louisiana, likely will be pointed to a stakes for Louisiana-bred 2-year-olds, Kelly Wohlers said, though he didn’t rule out Ellis Park’s $100,000 Runhappy Juvenile on Aug. 9.

The post First Winner For Claiborne Farm’s Runhappy Comes At Indiana Grand appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.