by NYRA Press Office
A $100,000 bonus will be paid to any offspring of champion sprinter Runhappy who wins an unrestricted maiden race during the prestigious summer meet at Saratoga Race Course in 2020, when his progeny will race for the first time as 2-year-olds.
The bonus will be paid by Jim McIngvale, whose colors Runhappy carried while winning 7-of-10 career starts from 2014-16, including a record-setting triumph in Saratoga's Grade 1 King's Bishop for 3-year-olds during his championship season in 2015.
"Team Runhappy is delighted to award a $100,000 bonus to add even more excitement to the great atmosphere at the nation's oldest sporting venue," said McIngvale, who noted that in addition to six graded stakes on the dirt for juveniles, the summer meet also serves as season-long coming-out party for many juveniles who will become racing's future heroes.
Tapwrit, the 2017 Belmont Stakes winner, ran as a maiden 2-year-old at Saratoga, along with 2017 Kentucky Derby-winner Always Dreaming. Others who were unveiled at the Spa include 2013 Derby-winner Orb and 2010 winner Super Saver, along with 2004 Belmont winner Birdstone, who famously upended Smarty Jones' Triple Crown bid.
McIngvale said in addition to spotlighting Runhappy and his offspring, the award speaks to the people behind the scenes of thoroughbred racing.
"The bonus is designed to support the people who are key to horse racing - the breeders, owners and trainers," he said. "They are the ones who bring the game to life."
Runhappy, who stands at Claiborne Farm for $25,000, will again be the title sponsor of the 127th running of the Grade 1, $1.2 million Metropolitan Handicap on Belmont Stakes Day, June 8, at Belmont Park. The Runhappy Met Mile is a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile in November at Santa Anita Park and will be one of eight Grade 1 races on the blockbuster Belmont Stakes Day 2019 card.
In addition to the 151st running of the Grade 1, $1.5 million Belmont Stakes and the Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap, the 13-race card on Belmont Stakes Day features 10 total stakes, including:
Earlier, NYRA announced that Runhappy will be the title sponsor of the 2019 Grade 1, $250,000 Hopeful for 2-year-olds at Saratoga. The Runhappy Hopeful, which is the traditional closing feature of the Saratoga meet, will be run on Labor Day, September 2. As part of an expanded relationship with NYRA, Runhappy has also been named presenting sponsor of the Grade 1, $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens [formerly the King's Bishop].
In 2018, Runhappy became the title sponsor of the Travers, and will serve that role again for the 150th edition of the Mid-Summer Derby on Saturday, August 24 at Saratoga. The Runhappy Travers, contested at 1 ¼ miles, was first held in 1864 and features some of the top 3-year-olds in the country.