FAVORED BIG RUNNUER GOES GATE TO WIRE TAKE GRADE II, $200,000 EDDIE D STAKES BY ONE LENGTH AS HERNANDEZ & GARCIA TEAM FOR 5 ½ FURLONG TURF WIN IN 1:01.15
WIN PROVIDES UPSTART HERNANDEZ WITH HIS FIRST SANTA ANITA STAKES VICTORY
ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 25, 2020)–Breaking sharply from the far outside in a field of seven, favored Big Runnuer made the lead and never looked back, as he took Friday’s main event at Santa Anita, the Grade II, $200,000 Eddie D Stakes, by one length under upstart Juan Hernandez, thus providing the 28-year-old native of Veracruz, Mexico with his first ever Santa Anita stakes win. Trained by Victor Garcia and owned by his father “King” Juan Garcia, Big Runneur got 5 ½ furlongs on turf in 1:01.15.
A winner of his last two races, most recently the 5 ½ furlong Siren Lure Stakes here on June 21, Big Runnuer, a 5-year-old horse by Stormy Atlantic, had been ridden in his last two starts by Ruben Fuentes.
“I had never ridden him,so I asked Ruben (who is currently serving a riding suspension) what he knew about him,” said Hernandez. “He told me he was a very nice horse with natural speed. It looked like we had some speed inside of us, so I thought we’d stay where we were and stay comfortable. But he broke sharp and when we cleared them and got to the rail, it was over. I asked him to change leads and it was no problem. He’s a nice horse.”
Off at 3-2, Big Runneur, who is now four for five on the Santa Anita grass, paid $5.00, $3.20 and $2.60.
“He broke sharp (today), other times he was a jump or a jump and a half slow, but this time he broke sharp and he took the lead so easily,” said Garcia, whose father Juan was a legendary conditioner at Agua Caliente, just south of San Diego. “I saw the first fraction at 21 (seconds) and is said, ‘Well, he’s not going too fast. With the blinkers on, he is more focused on the race.”
Out of the Elusive Quality mare Elusive Luci, Big Runneur, with his first graded stakes victory in-hand, is now 7-4-1-2 overall and with the winner’s share of $120,000, he has earnings of $253,660.
The second choice at 5-2, Doug O’Neill’s Wildman Jack came rolling from off the pace to be second by 1 ¾ lengths over Grit and Curiosity. With Abel Cedillo up. “Wildman” paid $3.60 and $2.80.
Ridden by Luis Saez, Grit and Curiosity was off at 7-1 and paid $3.60 to show.
Fractions on the race were 21.96, 43.98 and 55.23.
Named in honor of retired all time great Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Delahoussaye, the Eddie D was run as the Morvich Stakees prior to being renamed in 2012. Delahoussaye, America’s leading rider by wins in 1978, won the 1984 Morvich aboard the Eddie Gregson-trained Tsunami Slew.