RUNHAPPY Named Title Sponsor of Ellis Park Meet
Ellis Park is pleased to welcome back RUNHAPPY as the title sponsor of the 100th season, which runs from July 8 through August 28.
The RUNHAPPY meet at Ellis Park will be highlighted by the five stakes races on August 14, including the $200,000 RUNHAPPY Ellis Park Derby, $100,000 RUNHAPPY Audubon Oaks, $125,000 RUNHAPPY Ellis Park Juvenile, $125,000 RUNHAPPY Ellis Park Debutante and the $125,000 Groupie Doll Stakes.
"Runhappy won at Ellis Park during the Summer of his Eclipse championship season, so we're happy and excited to support the upcoming race meet again, especially on the 100th anniversary of the track,” said Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, CEO of Gallery Furniture and owner of Runhappy. An allowance victory at Ellis Park in 2015 would be the start of a five-race win streak for Runhappy. Jim McIngvale’s colt would go on to win the Grade 1 NYRA.com King’s Bishop Stakes (which resulted in a new race record), the Grade 3 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes, the Grade 1 TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (new track record at Keeneland) and the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes, before being awarded the Eclipse Award for Champion Sprinter. After his retirement in 2016, Runhappy was added to the stallion roster at the historic Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky and currently resides in Secretariat’s old stall.
Since beginning stud duties, Runhappy has been named a leading juvenile sire (2021) and his progeny has acquired over $7.5 million in earnings. Notable Runhappy offspring include Smile Happy, who won the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club and placed in both the G1 Blue Grass Stakes and the G2 Risen Star Stakes, and Following Sea, who won the G2 Vosburgh Stakes, ran second in the G1 Cigar Mile and G1 Haskell and finished third in the G1 H. Allen Jerkins Memorial Stakes and the G1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
“Runhappy Day” at Ellis Park will be the track’s biggest day of racing of the 2022 season and will be held on August 14, 2022, with five stakes races traditionally marked as Kentucky Downs Preview races, now titled for one of the 100-year-old track’s most famous graduates.
2022 RUNHAPPY Ellis Park Stakes (as indicated in the initial condition book)
7/9/22 - Pea Patch Overnight Stakes $60,000, 3-year-old fillies, 5 ½ furlongs (turf)
7/10/22 – Dade Park Dash Overnight Stakes $60,000, 3-year-olds, 5 ½ furlongs (turf)
7/17/22 – Ellis Park Turf Stakes presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA) $75,000,
Fillies & Mares, 3-years-old & up, 1 1/16 miles (turf)
7/24/22 – Jeff Hall Memorial Stakes $75,000, 3-years-old & up, 6 ½ furlongs (dirt)
8/6/22 – The R.A. “Cowboy” Jones Overnight Stakes $60,000, 3-years-old & up, 1 mile (dirt)
8/7/22 – The Exacta Gaming Distaff Turf Sprint $100,000, Fillies & Mares, 3-years-old & up, 5 ½
- The Twin Spires Turf Sprint $100,000, 3-years-old & up, 5 ½ furlongs (turf)
- The Centennial Distaff Turf Mile $100,000, Fillies & Mares, 3-years-old & up, 1 mile (turf)
- The Evan Williams Turf Mile $100,000, 3-years-old & up, 1 mile (turf)
8/14/22 – The RUNHAPPY Ellis Park Derby $200,000, 3-year-olds, 1 mile (dirt)
- The RUNHAPPY Audubon Oaks $100,000 , 3-year-old Fillies, 7 furlongs (dirt)
- The RUNHAPPY Ellis Park Juvenile $125,000, 2-year-olds, 7 furlongs (dirt)
- The RUNHAPPY Ellis Park Debutante $125,000, 2-year-old Fillies, 7 furlongs (dirt)
- The Groupie Doll $125,000, Fillies & Mares, 3-years-old & up, 1 mile (dirt)
“Notorious for its strong two-year-old program due to its soft river bottom ground, grassy backside, and prime maiden-breaking position in the Kentucky racing calendar, Ellis Park is a hardy and community-driven racetrack nestled in the heart of Kentucky which makes it an intuitive partner for the largely philanthropic and community-driven,” said McIngvale.
The RUNHAPPY title partnership allows Ellis Park to return to its homegrown identity in the racing landscape by launching community initiatives on the track’s backside, as well as reinstating classic guest favorites in the Grandstands and Clubhouse from throughout her 100th-Years.
"RUNHAPPY Dollar Days” will commence every Sunday of racing, offering $1 hotdogs, $1 popcorn, and $2 beer to all track patrons weekly throughout the RUNHAPPY Summer at Ellis Park. The backside is also slated to receive new sports equipment and the track will sell t-shirts throughout the meet with 10% of profits donated to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA), courtesy of RUNHAPPY.
The 204-acre thoroughbred track, located in Henderson, KY, has endured monumental flooding, barn fires, a tornado, and generations of change. But through it all, Ellis Park has remained steadfast, a fixture in both the racing community and the hearts of fans. The centennial race meet will celebrate the storied history of the track, a continuation of the commitment to racing, and signify an exciting new era at Ellis Park.
(Photo Credit: Coady Photography, @coadyphoto on social)