JEFF RUNCO HAS PAIR FOR JAMES F. LEWIS STKS.
David Raim’s Run to Daylight, undefeated through three starts including back-to-back stakes wins, hits the road for the first time in an attempt to keep his perfect record intact in Saturday’s $100,000 James F. Lewis III at Laurel Park.
Run to Daylight is one of two Runco runners pointed at the Lewis. He’ll also send out Amidships, second to his stablemate last month in the West Virginia Vincent Moscarelli Memorial Breeders’ Classic.
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Run to Daylight, a gelded bay son of champion sprinter Runhappy, has been favored in each of his first three races, winning by 11 ¼ combined lengths, all at trainer Jeff Runco’s Charles Town base. Run to Daylight debuted August 22 and captured the Sept. 18 Henry Mercer Memorial going 4 ½ furlongs, before taking the 6 ½-furlong Vincent Moscarelli Memorial Breeders’ Classic Oct. 9.
“So far he’s done pretty good. He’s a nice Runhappy colt that’s won two stakes now, and he’s got a little experience,” Runco said. “We stretched him out and he kind of got off a little slow in his last start, but was able to overcome that and ran very well. He kind of pulled away there at the end. He ran a nice race.”
Because of his tardy break last out, Run to Daylight showed a new dimension in the Moscarelli after a pair of front-running triumphs. All of his races have come under jockey Arnaldo Bocachica, who returns to ride from Post 2 in a field of eight. All horses carry 122 pounds.
“Whenever you have a horse that’s gone to the lead twice, and won both on the lead, if they get off slow and then they show that they can come from off the pace, its shows that the horse definitely has some talent and he’s versatile,” Runco said. “He doesn’t have to be in front. I like seeing that; I’m sure any trainer would. He ran a real nice race off the pace last time and finished up well.”
Run to Daylight initially fetched $115,000 at Keeneland’s January 2020 Horses of All Ages sale, then was purchased by Raim for $60,000 as a yearling eight months later from the Dromoland Farm consignment. Runco signed the ticket.
“We’ve liked him all along. I liked him when I bought him as a yearling. I’ve had some siblings out of same family and they’ve all run pretty good. He’s a real nice-looking colt. Once we got him in training, he worked well,” Runco said. “I’m not sure if he’ll go a route or not yet. It’s still a little early, but that’s a possibility. He definitely looks like six or seven [furlongs] is going to be fine for him as a 2-year-old.”
Runco also entered Coleswood Farm, Inc.’s homebred Amidships, a maiden winner second time out Sept. 18 at Charles Town who ran a decisive second to his stablemate in the Moscarelli, 10 lengths clear of third-place finisher Ryan’s Sword. By Midshipman, he is also making his first start outside his native West Virginia.
“He ran a good race, and he had a little bit of a tough trip. He got off just a tick slow, not bad, but he had to chase three wide on a really hot pace. He was three wide around the turn and it just kind of got to him the last part of it.,” Runco said. “I’m not saying which one of the two is better; the other horse won the race. But when you chase three wide, that’s tough on a horse that’s only run two times. He’s a pretty nice colt, too. If he gets a good trip I think he’ll be formidable, also.”
Denis Araujo has the call on Amidships from Post 3.