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Samraat tries to make it three straight in Damon Runyon

By Sean Morris | 12/14/2013 01:06 PM ET
PHOTO/Adam Coglianese

The unbeaten Samraat will try to extend his win streak to three in the $100,000 Damon Runyon Stakes, to be contested this Wednesday at Aqueduct Racetrack. Run at one mile, 70 yards for New York-bred 2-year-olds, the race poses an interesting challenge to the precocious son of Noble Causeway as he has yet to go a route of ground or two turns.

Owned by My Meadowview Farms and trained by Rick Violette, Samraat kicked off his career smartly with a 3 ½ length front-running score at Belmont Park going six furlongs. Stretched out to 7 ½ furlongs in his subsequent start at Aqueduct, he again went straight to the lead and drew off to win by an authoritative 5 ½ lengths. Though he has not been headed in either start and will be trying to carry his speed farther than ever before, Violette is confident his young colt is up to the task.

"He's got a high cruising speed, and I think the two turns will be an asset," said the trainer. "There's no reason to think he won't get a mile-and-an-eighth or better. If someone wants to go faster than him, then fine, but they're probably going to have to go real fast."
Samraat, the 6-5 favorite on the morning line, will break from the rail and be ridden by Jose Ortiz.
Recent maiden graduate Deceived, owned by Treadway Racing Stable and trained by Leah Gyarmati, may offer the stiffest competition to Samraat, as he has already demonstrated an affinity for longer distances through his first four races.

After a promising debut going 5 ½ furlongs at Saratoga Race Course, a race in which he finished third behind next out winners Free Mugatu and Empire Dreams, Deceived's connections changed course and entered him on the turf. Despite an encouraging second place finish that day, he was shifted back to dirt for his third career start, a one-mile affair at Belmont Park. He showed good determination to finish second in that spot, this time missing by only a neck. Finally, the fourth time proved to be the charm for the son of Broken Vow, as he broke his maiden in style by a widening 7 ½ lengths over a muddy Aqueduct surface at one mile.
"I think he'll be great going two turns," said Gyarmati. "It looks like it might set up well for him; he can sit off the pace because there's plenty of speed. Every race he's run he shows up."

At 9-5 on the morning line, Deceived will be ridden by Cornelio Velasquez and break from post position 4.
Rounding out the field in post position order is Forever Utopia, a maiden with three runner-up finishes to his credit; Howaboutwe, recently fourth behind Samraat in a state-bred allowance race; Balderdash, who will be trying dirt for the first time after hitting the board in three of four starts on turf; and Geaux Mets, a winner of two straight sprints for his new trainer, David Jacobson.

The field for the $100,000 Damon Runyon:

PP Horse Jockey WGT Trainer
1 Samraat (NY) J L. Ortiz 116 R A. Violette, Jr.
2 Forever Utopia (NY) E Castro 116 J P. Terranova, II
3 Howaboutwe (NY) A S. Arroyo 116 J M. Antonucci
4 Deceived (NY) C H. Velasquez 116 L Gyarmati
5 Balderdash (NY) W A. Garcia 116 K M. Feron
6 Geaux Mets (NY) D Cohen 116 D Jacobson