JEFF RUNCO HAS PAIR FOR LAUREL’S HEFT S.
With Charles Town Races dark until January, trainer Jeff Runco is nevertheless keeping some of his stars busy. Runco will send a trio of West Virginia-bred runners to Laurel Park stakes Dec. 26.
That group includes three-time WVBC Onion Juice winner Penguin Power, entered in the $100,000 Dave’s Friend Stakes for older sprinters, and a pair of juveniles looking to close their seasons on high notes.
- Laurel Park picks and ponderings: November 27, 2022We provide full-card picks and analysis for this afternoon’s races at Laurel Park.
Two-time stakes winner Run to Daylight and West Virginia-based stablemate Amidships, off the board in their last stakes trip to Maryland, are entered for a chance at redemption in the $100,000 Heft. The Heft and Dave’s Friend are among six $100,000 stakes on the nine-race Christmastide Day program.
David Raim’s Run to Daylight suffered his first loss in four career starts in the six-furlong James F. Lewis III Nov. 13 at Laurel, following a maiden triumph and stakes wins in the Henry Mercer Memorial and Vincent Moscarelli Memorial Breeders’ Classic at Charles Town.
The gelded bay son of sprint champion Runhappy will have a change of equipment for the Heft, where he drew the far outside post in a field of seven with Arnaldo Bocachica named to ride. Sent off the narrow favorite in the Lewis, he wound up seventh after racing between horses, also from Post 7.
“We’re going to probably try blinkers on Run to Daylight for the first time. He’s breezed well with them so we’re going to get him ready to go and see if the blinkers don’t make a big difference for him,” trainer Jeff Runco said.
“We’re hoping the blinkers will keep him a little bit closer maybe and a little bit more focused,” he added. “He was in between horses pretty good the other day and I don’t know how well he liked being in tight like that, so we’re going to try the blinkers.”
Coleswood Farm, Inc.’s Amidships ran second to his stablemate in the Moscarelli and was fifth after leading the Lewis for a quarter-mile, fading after being stuck down on the rail. He rebounded with a front-running 1 ¾-length allowance score against state-breds Dec. 10 at Charles Town.
Amidships, by Midshipman, drew the rail post in the Heft with Bocachica named. Jaime Rodriguez rode Amidships in the Lewis.
“He was kind of jammed up inside the last time. You’ve got to get a good trip when you get the one hole,” Runco said. “He came back and ran well and won nicely. I’m not wild about the inside post but we’ll see how he trains this week and make a decision.”
E V Racing Stable’s Life Is Great is entered to make his stakes debut in the Heft off a dominating 6 ¾-length maiden special weight triumph sprinting seven furlongs Nov. 20 at Aqueduct. His prior two starts came in maiden special weights at Belmont Park, where he was beaten a head while second sprinting 6 ½ furlongs Sept. 17 and third going 1 1/16 miles Oct. 21 behind Mo Donegal, who came back to win Aqueduct’s Remsen (G2) Dec. 4.
Rounding out the field are Uncle Buddy, second to Witty in the Pennsylvania Nursery Dec. 7 at Parx; Dontcrossfuzzy, Last Romance and Shame Em Loose.