Horse Racing

Saratoga Notebook: Smile Happy to Miss Whitney

The plan was for Lucky Seven Stables’ Smile Happy  to run in the $1 million Whitney Stakes at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 5. Those plans went kaput when the 4-year-old son of Runhappy   was ruled out of the race due to a bruised heel in his right foot.

Trainer Kenny McPeek took Smile Happy out of the Whitney equation on July 30.

“Underneath his right front foot, towards the heel, he has had something that has been kind of niggling at him,” McPeek said at his. “He has always been a difficult horse to train, but it seems like lately the thing was bugging him a little bit more than we thought.”

McPeek said that Smile Happy was being checked out at the Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Saratoga Springs after being evaluated by Dr. Larry Bramlage.

“We wanted to make sure it was not anything but the foot, and that is what it is,” McPeek said.

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With the latest development, McPeek said Smile Happy is “sort of in a holding pattern.” He said the colt will be pointed to the Sept. 30 Lukas Classic Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs.

Smile Happy has won four of nine career starts and last raced in the Stephen Foster Stakes (G1) at Churchill, where he finished fifth.

Following an eighth-place effort in last year’s Kentucky Derby (G1), Smile Happy missed nine months with a bone bruise. This injury is not related.

Rattle N Roll wins the Blame Stakes on Saturday, June 3, 2023 at Churchill Downs
Photo: Coady Photography

Rattle N Roll wins the Blame Stakes at Churchill Downs

McPeek said that stablemate Rattle N Roll  will be pointed to the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Saratoga on Sept. 2.

There had been talks of possibly having Rattle N Roll go to California for the Pacific Classic (G1), also on Sept.2, but McPeek said that as of now that race would be “unlikely.”

Rattle N Roll, also owned by Lucky Seven Stable, was a game runner-up to West Will Power  in the Stephen Foster in his last start.

Weaver’s Royal Ascot Hero Getting Some Time Off

One of the biggest wins in trainer George Weaver’s career came in June when his 2-year-old filly Crimson Advocate  won the Queen Mary Stakes (G2) at the prestigious meet at Royal Ascot

Crimson Advocate and John Velazquez win the G2 Queen Mary Stakes, Royal Ascot, Ascot Racecourse, UK, 6/21/23, Mathea Kelley
Photo: Mathea Kelley

Crimson Advocate (red cap) on her way to winning the Queen Mary Stakes at Ascot Racecourse

Since then, Weaver has given the daughter of Nyquist   some time off. Crimson Advocate is the fifth filly trained in the United States to win the Queen Mary.

Weaver said she will not race at Saratoga Race Course and probably not at Kentucky Downs

“We’re giving her a little break in the action,” Weaver said outside his barn on the Oklahoma Training Track. “We will bring her back and point to the Breeders’ Cup. We will have one prep, and early September (Kentucky Downs) is not going to be in the cards.”

Weaver said he will look at a spot at either Keeneland or the Belmont Fall meet, which will be conducted at Aqueduct Race Track for the second straight year.

Crimson Advocate is owned by Hill Stable, Swinbank Stables, Black Ridge Stable and Black Type Thoroughbreds.

Earlier in the Saratoga meet, Sacred Wish , a Weaver-trained 3-year-old filly, got beat a neck by Wet Paint  in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1).

After that race, Weaver was not going to allow himself to be disappointed because he remembered Royal Ascot and Crimson Advocate.

“When I won at Ascot, it was a dirty nose,” Weaver said after the CCA Oaks. “After we won that race, I said I would never complain about a photo finish for a long time. So, I am not complaining (about Sacred Wish).”



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