10/01/2016 4:45PM

Tom's Ready first in Ack Ack as Runhappy finishes fourth

Coady Photography
Trainer Dallas Stewart said Saturday that Tom's Ready will likely run his next race in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Tom’s Ready was the winner Saturday in the Grade 3, $100,000 Ack Ack at Churchill Downs, although perhaps the bigger story was the fourth-place finish for heavily favored Runhappy.

Tom’s Ready, ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., came from well off the pace to win the one-mile Ack Ack by a half-length over Iron Fist after Runhappy tired on the lead as the 3-10 favorite.

Tom’s Ready, owned by GMB Racing of New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson, returned $11.80 as second choice in a field of six after finishing a mile in 1:34.86 over a track rated wet-fast. It was his second graded victory of the year, following the Grade 2 Woody Stephens at Belmont Park in June.

“I was pretty confident the whole way,” Hernandez said.

Trainer Dallas Stewart was in New York to saddle Forever Unbridled in the Grade 1 Beldame. He said later by phone that Tom’s Ready likely will make his next start in the Nov. 4 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Santa Anita.

Meanwhile, an entourage of about two dozen people led by owner Jim “Mattress Mac” McIngvale and his sister-in-law, trainer Laura Wohlers, were on hand to cheer for Runhappy and came away visibly disappointed with the defeat. Making his first start in more than nine months, the 2015 Eclipse Award winner for top sprinter appeared very relaxed in setting fractions of 23.08, 45.95, and 1:10.22, but he had no punch in the final quarter mile, finishing 2 1/2 lengths behind the winner.

“Well, we’ll just live to play another day, go back and regroup to square one,” McIngvale said.

Edgar Prado was in from Maryland to ride Runhappy.

“He relaxed nice and easy,” Prado said. “He was sharp, though, and he rated nice for me, so that’s good.”

With Runhappy having been sidelined by minor injuries for much of the year, Wohlers was squeezing in a prep for the colt prior to the BC Dirt Mile. McIngvale already has paid $1 million for one of 12 spots in the Jan. 28 Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park for Runhappy.

Tom’s Ready, a Pennsylvania-bred by More Than Ready, now has won three of 13 career starts and has earned $640,267. Stewart had considered bypassing the Ack Ack in favor of the $350,000 Kelso Mile next Saturday at Belmont before deciding to stay home following the colt’s latest breeze.

“I had never seen him work any better so I said, ‘We need to run him right here,’” Stewart said.

The $2 exacta (3-1) paid $45, the $1 trifecta (3-1-6) returned $117.90, and the 10-cent superfecta (3-1-6-5) was worth $32.19.