04/13/2016 9:21AM

Foot injury continues to limit Runhappy's training

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Shigeki Kikkawa
In his most recent start, Runhappy wins the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Reigning sprint champion Runhappy continues to be hampered by a foot bruise and will not resume galloping until the end of April at the earliest.

Runhappy has been jogging on a daily basis at the Thoroughbred Center on the north side of Lexington, according to trainer Laura Wohlers. The 4-year-old colt continues to train with a protective bar shoe on his right hind hoof.

“He galloped for us Sunday, and when we asked him to gallop again Monday, he kind of looked like he didn’t want to, so we didn’t push it,” said Wohlers. “We’ll just jog him until the end of the month and see where we are with him then.”

Runhappy already will miss his original intended comeback race, the Churchill Downs Stakes on May 7, and his delay to serious training also casts doubt on him returning in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Mile on the June 11 Belmont Stakes card.

“I’d like to make the Met, but if we don’t, we don’t,” said Wohlers, who trains Runhappy for her brother-in-law, Jim “Mattress Mac” McIngvale of Gallery Racing. “There’s no rush. There’s really no race we’re pushing toward.”

With regular exercise rider Omar Torres aboard, Runhappy spent about 20 minutes on the one-mile dirt surface at the Thoroughbred Center early Wednesday.

“He’s very sound jogging,” Wohlers said as the colt cooled out. “We’re just going to take our time with him.”

Runhappy was the subject of one of the biggest stories of the 2015 racing season. The Super Saver colt incurred his only career defeat in January before reeling off six straight wins, ending with the King’s Bishop, Phoenix, Breeders’ Cup Sprint, and Malibu. He was voted the Eclipse Award for top sprinter while also being named a finalist for Horse of the Year and top 3-year-old male.

His trainer for all but the last one of those victories was Maria Borell, but McIngvale fired Borell the day after the Breeders’ Cup in what quickly became a huge controversy. Borell currently has pending litigation against McIngvale in a Lexington court over what she claims is unpaid commissions and defamation of character.

Runhappy arrived in late February at the Thoroughbred Center after getting some downtime in Texas following his victory in the Dec. 26 Malibu at Santa Anita.

McIngvale and Wohlers have said they not only hope to race Runhappy this year at 4 but also next year.