2022 Kentucky Derby Field - Smile Happy

Last Updated: 05/04/2022 at 6:44 PM ET

2022 Kentucky Derby Field - Smile Happy

Smile Happy will leave from gate 5 on Saturday and currently has odds of 20-1. The thoroughbred will be ridden by Corey Lanerie and is Ken McPeek trained. In four career starts, Smile Happy has two wins and two second place finishes. Smile Happy has career earnings of $549,810. 

The stalker reached the top echelon of contenders for the Kentucky Derby in November of 2021 after following up a maiden win with another big win at the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. Smile Happy then finished second in each of his starts in 2022 at the Risen Star Stakes and most recently in the Blue Grass Stakes.

In the Blue Grass Stakes, jockey Lanerie had the colt positioned just off pacesetter Emmanuel and ran into contention at the top of the stretch but Zandon made a huge charge down the homestretch to overtake Smile Happy. The second-place finish at the Blue Grass Stakes is an example of the biggest concern Smile Happy handlers have, as the distance of 1 ¼-mile on Saturday will be even longer.

If Smile Happy hopes to reach the winner's circle on Saturday, the talented thoroughbred must come up with a way to finish strong as several competitors will be there down the home stretch. Smile Happy showed strong finishing power while a 2-year old but not in two prep races in early 2022. 

Trainer McPeek has a second in the Kentucky Derby in six starts but that dates back to 1995. Jockey Lanerie was second in the 2017 Derby. Smile Happy will put fear into the favorites on the back stretch and will be one of the frontrunners at the turn, but is likely to be overtaken by two or three others down the home stretch.

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