Kentucky Derby Profile: Smile Happy

Smile Happy is one of two Kenny McPeek horses set for the stalls at Churchill Downs on Saturday
Smile Happy is one of two Kenny McPeek horses set for the stalls at Churchill Downs on Saturday

Kenny McPeek has two horses entered into Saturday's Kentucky Derby field and Smile Happy comes in on the back of two runner-up finishes in the Risen Star and Blue Grass respectively. JN Campbell however is not of the belief that he's going to be challenging near the front as they come down the stretch...

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At the beginning of ’22, it looked as though trainer Kenny McPeek would have a loaded line-up for the Derby Trail. Things have a way of changing over the course of 3+ months … Of course, Jim McIngvale, the brash bettor from Houston, Texas known affectionately as “Mattress Mack,” would like to see McPeek’s “Smile” get to the island-esque Winner’s Circle at Churchill Downs. That would exponentially improve this one’s sire, Runhappy, which “Mack” is promoting at famed Claiborne Farm.

As far as this colt’s record, in 4 career races (2-’21, 2-’22), he has run in a perfectly acceptable way. The score in the Jockey Club (G2), an early litmus test after the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), was clearly his best showing. It was a driving score that night, and made every “Derby Watcher” sit-up and take notice. Regular rider, Corey Lanerie was back aboard for the Risen Star (G2), as McPeek looked to get the Lucky Seven Stable runner on the right track. A 2nd place finish to Epicenter seemed rather disappointing, especially when you consider the “hype” and expectations for this runner.

Waiting to compete next in his trainer’s backyard at Keeneland, once again, the Runhappy 3-yr-old was “next best” to a power runner named Zandon. That Chad Brown router made a powerful statement from the back of the pack, and “Happy” was left with more “minors.” I do not think there is particularly anything wrong with backing this colt, but you will not find me doing so. He seems to be either going in the wrong direction with that running style of his, or just treading water. I want a Derby Trail-er that is “peaking” (no pun intended) at the proper point. This is not one of them … looking elsewhere is the plan.

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Kentucky Derby 2022

Kentucky Derby 2022 Racecard

PP 10


  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: F. Prat /
  • Trainer: C. Brown /
Morning Line Odds
PP 3


  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: J. Rosario /
  • Trainer: S. Asmussen /
Morning Line Odds
PP 6


  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: J. Velazquez /
  • Trainer: T. Yakteen /
Morning Line Odds
PP 1

Mo Donegal

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: I. Ortiz Jr. /
  • Trainer: T. Pletcher /
PP 15

White Abarrio

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: T. Gaffalione /
  • Trainer: S. Joseph Jr. /
PP 12


  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: M. Smith /
  • Trainer: T. Yakteen /
PP 8

Charge It

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: L. Saez /
  • Trainer: T. Pletcher /
PP 13


  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: J. Ortiz /
  • Trainer: A. Sano /
PP 7

Crown Pride

  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: C. Lemaire /
  • Trainer: K. Shintani /
PP 16


  • Age: 3 /
  • Jockey: F. Geroux /
  • Trainer: B. Cox /
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