07/02/2014 12:57PM

Jerardi: Get Happy Mister on Rocky Mountain high

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Get Happy Mister wins the Front Range Stakes for his seventh win in seven tries at Arapahoe Park.

As we head into the second half of the season, following a sensational Triple Crown season that once again had everything but a Triple Crown, the focus will be on Palace Malice, Untapable, the eventual return of California Chrome, Tonalist at Saratoga, and the re-emergence of Shared Belief.

When the year-end championship ballots are distributed, most of those horses will be given major consideration for various awards.

It is not likely that Get Happy Mister will be getting the same kind of consideration – unless you live in Colorado and the voting is for best in the state.

The 4-year-old Colorado-bred has run just three times at home this year but looks like a near lock to be the statebred of the year for the second time. The son of First Samurai, purchased as a yearling for $46,000, has run seven times at Arapahoe Park and is quickly becoming a local legend.

Get Happy Mister is 7 for 7 at his home track, winning the races by a combined 42 1/4 lengths. He was 4 for 4 as a 2-year-old, winning those races by a combined 31 1/4 lengths.

If you think this is just a horse who can win in Colorado, think again. Sent to Oaklawn Park last year as a 3-year-old, Get Happy Mister was good enough to win the $100,000 Northern Spur and get a 92 Beyer Speed Figure. This March, he finished a decent fourth in a Santa Anita stakes, 6 3/4 lengths behind Fury Kapcori. He got a career-best 94 Beyer that day.

If a horse can run that well at Santa Anita, that horse is going to be very difficult to beat at Arapahoe. Get Happy Mister won May 26, again June 14, and last Sunday crushed a very strong field in the Front Range Stakes, getting an 88 Beyer and winning by 4 1/2 lengths.

The field he beat included the 2013 Colorado-bred Horse of the Year (Magical Twist), the 2011 Colorado-bred Horse of the Year (Wally Van), and Hezamazing, the winner of the 2012 and 2013 Front Range.

Annette Bishop owns the gelding, who has won $238,672. He is trained by Butch Gleason and has been ridden in all of his Colorado starts by Michael Ziegler.

Ziegler has been a jockey for 26 years and calls Get Happy Mister the best horse he has ever ridden.

The Front Range was at seven furlongs, the farthest Get Happy Mister has run at Arapahoe. But that race at Santa Anita was at a mile. So was the Northern Spur.

The horse is fast early, prominent at the first call in all those sprint races. So, good luck to a horse trying to catch Get Happy Mister at the end of this month, when he goes for the $40,000 Mount Elbert Stakes (1 1/16 miles), or on Aug. 16, when he goes after the $100,000 Arapahoe Classic (1 1/8 miles).

Now, should the horse win both, I don’t suspect they are going to target the Breeders’ Cup Classic to close his campaign. But, spotted correctly, it is pretty clear that Get Happy Mister is competitive out of town.

I admit to knowing nothing about Colorado racing, other than watching an occasional simulcast. I am, however, a sucker for these statebred horses and regional stars who dominate everything in their area and just don’t lose.

It is why I liked the unbeaten New Mexico-bred Peppers Pride and Mid-Atlantic star Rapid Redux so much. They started winning and never stopped. If going unbeaten or having a really long winning streak against any type of competition was easy, it would happen more often. Something always goes wrong. See California Chrome in the Belmont Stakes for a recent example. And Smarty Jones a decade ago in the Belmont for an example that will be a case study forever.

On those rare runs where nothing goes wrong for an extended period, it is worth tuning in, whether the race is in New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Maryland, or Colorado.

So, put down the date – July 27 at Arapahoe, the Mount Elbert Stakes, the amazing Get Happy Mister.

kingsailor2 More than 1 year ago
Great article, thanks. Clarification: he's on the original and old-fashioned "rocky mountain high." Fantastic to see him coming down the stretch with the (still, a bit) snow-capped Rockies behind him.