Samraat romps in the Damon Runyon
By Sean Morris | 12/18/2013 04:29 PM ET
Undefeated Samraat extinguished any doubts about his ability to handle two-turn racing with a scintillating 16 ¾-length score in the $100,000 Damon Runyon for New York-bred 2-year-olds on Wednesday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Away quickly from his inside post, the dark bay or brown son of Noble Causeway established early command of the race just a few strides out of the starting gate and led the field through fractions of 24.55 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 49.73 for the half. Leaving the far turn, Samraat promptly bounded away from the field without being asked by jockey Jose Ortiz, and continued to widen his advantage while under only light encouragement.
Bigger spots may be on the horizon for the unbeaten colt, according to Rick Violette, who trains the horse for My Meadowview Farm.
"I originally was thinking the Jerome [Grade 2, January 4], but we moved this back three days because of the weather and it was going to be tight, anyway, so I'm not sure we make it," said the trainer. "I could even send him to Florida for a month just to keep him in training and get him out of the cold weather, then bring him up for the spot after that, which is the Withers [Grade 3, February 1]. I think we might have to test open company. If not his next start, then the start after that."
The Damon Runyon was Samraat's third victory in as many tries; he completed the mile and 70 yards in 1:44.09 and paid $3.40 to win as the odds-on favorite.
Finishing a distant second in his first attempt on dirt was the maiden Forever Utopia. Ridden by jockey Eddie Castro, the 2-year-old son of Utopia tracked the early lead along the inside, but could not keep pace with the winner in the stretch and had to settle for his fourth second-place finish in five starts.
It was another 2 ¾ lengths back to third-place finisher Deceived, who had an eventful trip after lunging at the break, then rushing up to join the leaders on the backstretch.
Howaboutwe, Geaux Mets, and Balderdash completed the order of finish.