Kentucky Derby Profile: Happy Jack

Doug O'Neill trains the Oxbow colt Happy Jack
Doug O'Neill trains the Oxbow colt Happy Jack

Considered by many to be a longshot for the Kentucky Derby, Happy Jack comes into the race on the back of two third place finishes out on the west coast. What does our man JN Campbell think of his chances...?

Todd Pletcher and Doug O’Neill are the only trainers in this year’s KYD148 that have visited the famed winner’s circle at Churchill. It is reserved for one purpose … to crown the horse that wins the 1st leg of the Triple Crown. The former has a strong contingent this year, but not to be outdone, the latter will be there too. I am not sure how good this Calumet homebred truly is, but O’Neill is going to spin the wheel.

He has kept his charge working at his base in SoCal, and word is that he is doing well. That is sort of the SOP the week before the Derby. Looking at this one’s form, we could say that it is missing some “key” indicators for upward development. Other than his maiden victory on debut, the Robert Lewis (G3), San Felipe S. (G2), and the Santa Anita Derby (G1) were all “also-ran” moments. 5th … 3rd … 3rd …

I say that because Santa Anita has had difficulty filling the entry boxes of late, and compared to other Derby preps, I would not call these contests ultra-competitive, despite the fact that Taiba and Messier are headed east to Churchill. If there is a major long shot on the tote come Saturday, then this Doug O’Neill runner is it. The Kentucky Derby is about dreams … O’Neill knows this better than almost anyone … so, you never know …

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Kentucky Derby 2022