SHINING LIGHT ON THE HORSE INDUSTRY
Graded stakes-winner Runninsonofagun has been a consistent competitor throughout his entire career. After breaking through against stakes competition last out, the son of 2017 Horse of the Year Gun Runner will look to notch a second consecutive graded stakes score when he competes in Saturday’s Grade 3, $175,000 Fall Highweight for 3-year-olds and up sprinting six furlongs on the Aqueduct Racetrack main track.
Owned by the Estate of Scott Zimmerman, Runninsonofagun is 4-1-5 in 11 career starts, with his lone non-placing coming when sixth in his stakes debut in March at the Big A in the Grade 3 Gotham. Since then, the sophomore gelding has earned black type in six consecutive starts, including a victory by a nose over Eastern Bay last out in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler contested at the Fall Highweight distance on October 29 at Aqueduct.
Conditioner John Toscano, Jr. saw his trainee earn a 97 Beyer Speed Figure for that effort, which came after three straight third-place finishes against high-caliber competition, starting with the 6 1/2-furlong Grade 2 Amsterdam in July at Saratoga Race Course and following with the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial in August [also garnering a 97 Beyer] at the Spa before the Grade 2 Gallant Bob in September at Parx.
“He seems to get better and better with every start,” Toscano, Jr. said. “He has a lot of fight in him. No matter where I place him, he gives us 100 percent. It looks like he enjoys running at Aqueduct, but to be honest, he has performed well at Saratoga and Belmont as well.”
As the post-Thanksgiving Black Friday deals are advertised, Toscano, Jr. said he thinks back to when his barn received a great value when claiming Runninsonofagun for $40,000 on New Year’s Eve 2021. Entering the weekend, he has already amassed $341,050 in earnings in 2022 and can still add to that total.
“We got extremely lucky with him; not bad for a $40,000 claimer,” Toscano, Jr. said.
Runninsonofagun, assigned a co-field high 132 pounds, will have rider Kendrick Carmouche in the irons from post 7.
Michael Scheffres’ Factor It In [post 6, Irad Ortiz, Jr. 132 pounds] gave Runninsonofagun a strong challenge in the stretch in the Bold Ruler, finishing a half-length off the winner and just a neck behind runner-up Eastern Bay for a strong third-place effort.
That marked the 6-year-old’s first graded stakes appearance since 2020 and just his third overall in a career that started in 2018. Trained by Carlos Mancilla, Factor It In has only improved with age, posting a 2-1-1 ledger in four starts this year while finishing in-the-money in all three stakes appearances, placing second in the Chesapeake in August at Colonial Downs and winning the Challedon on October 1 at Laurel Park before returning to the Big A later in the month.
West Point Thoroughbreds and Marvin Delfiner’s Jaxon Traveler, a graded-stakes winner after capturing the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint in May at Pimlico, will be competing for the first time since finishing eighth in the Bold Ruler. Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, the Maryland-bred son of Munnings finished third in the Ben’s Cat in July at Laurel and second in the Lite the Fuse in September at Pimlico before returning to graded stakes company.
Jaxon Traveler, assigned 131 pounds, will now get another opportunity against Runninsonofagun, drawing post 2 with Jose Lezcano on the call.
Greeley and Ben [post 1, Manny Franco, 130 pounds], owned by Darryl Abramowitz, was fourth in the Bold Ruler and followed with a 1 3/4-length victory in a six-furlong allowance contest on November 10 at Aqueduct for trainer Faith Wilson.
The 8-year-old veteran, who has a 22-7-2 record in 38 career starts, will look to capitalize on his experience and make his third consecutive start at Aqueduct.
Mahendra Kallap’s Bezos has won back-to-back starts at the Big A and will look to notch a third straight victory, drawing post 4 with jockey Omar Hernandez Moreno set to ride for trainer Chandradat Goberdhan. He will carry just 123 pounds.
Rounding out the field is Happy Farm, who has posted two wins and four runner-up efforts in his last six starts, and is trained by Michael Miceli [post 3, Dylan Davis, 128 pounds]; and Synthesis, who bested optional claiming company in a 6 1/2-furlong sprint last out on September 30 at Belmont at the Big A for trainer David Jacobson [post 5, Jose Ortiz, 128 pounds].
The 109th running of the Fall Highweight is carded as Race 8 on Saturday’s 10-race program, which also features the Grade 2, $300,000 Red Smith for 3-year-olds and up competing at 1 3/8 miles on the inner turf and the $120,000 Central Park for 2-year-olds going one mile on the turf. First post is 11:50 a.m. Eastern.
America’s Day at the Races will present live coverage and analysis of the Aqueduct fall meet on the networks of FOX Sports. For the broadcast schedule and channel finder, visit https://www.nyra.com/
NYRA Bets is the best way to bet every race of the Aqueduct Racetrack fall meet. Available to horse players nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.
Ray Paulick (859) 312-2102
Emily Alberti (859) 913-9633
Sarah E. Coleman
David Ramey, DVM
EquiSport Photos (Matt and Wendy Wooley)
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