In the days leading up to the $20 million Saudi Cup (G1) at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Feb. 26, usracing.com is publishing profiles of the starters in the world’s richest horse race. Profiles will be updated with odds, post positions and jockeys several days before the race (jockeys listed based on last race).
By Jenny Kellner
2022 Saudi Cup Horse Profile: Happy Saver
As he was when finishing second by a half-length at 12-1 in the Clark Stakes (G1) at Churchill Downs, Wertheimer and Frere’s homebred Happy Saver likely will be somewhat overlooked in the $20 million Saudi Cup behind the likes of Mishriff, Mandaloun and Midnight Bourbon.
Yet, having been training steadily at Palm Beach Downs for the first race of his 5-year-old campaign, the handsome chestnut is on track to make himself heard in the race, which is a shade under 1 1/8 miles. The Todd Pletcher trainee had his fifth work of the year on Feb. 11, traveling 5 furlongs in 1:01.17.
Happy Saver – a son of Pletcher’s 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver – did not make his debut until the age of 3 after suffering a setback in late 2019. He made the most of his abbreviated campaign, however, going 4-or-4, starting with an easy 5 ½-length victory in a maiden race in June and capping the year with a Grade 1 victory against older horses in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
“When we started getting serious with his breezes, he was breezing with Dr Post and some horses we knew had talent and he was staying right with them, but I couldn’t have imagined on June 20 he’d be winning the Jockey Club Gold Cup and be 4-for-4. That’s hard to do, but it’s a tribute to his quality,” said Pletcher after winning the race for the first time. (Vino Rosso was disqualified the previous year.)
Happy Saver extended his undefeated streak to five as a 4-year-old, winning an allowance on May 20 at Belmont, but missed trips to the winner’s circle in his subsequent three starts. He was third to Max Player and Mystic Guide after going four-wide on both turns on an off track in the Suburban (G2), second when trying to repeat in the Jockey Club Gold Cup – this time held at Saratoga Race Course — and finally second in the Clark (G1) in his final start of 2021 to Maxfield, who with the victory ran his record at Churchill Downs to 5-1.
Betting advice: Lightly raced but not to be underestimated, having never finished worse than third in eight lifetime starts. Leave him out of your exotics at your own peril.
Post position: TBD
Jockey (as of last start): Tyler Gaffalione
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Owner: Wertheimer and Frere
Career record: 8-5-2-1
Career earnings: $705,300
Top Equibase speed figure: 116
Pedigree: Super Saver-Happy Week, by Distorted Humor
Running style: Versatile/Off the pace