State-breds take the featured stage in the Damon Runyon for state-bred two-year-old colts and geldings going a two-turn mile and 70 yards. Lots of guessing involved here but we’ll keep it relatively simple, going with a colt that showed dramatic improvement in his second start and another that has experience and has been stakes toughened.

It’s not so much that Haynesfield’s (7-2) figures improved dramatically in start two, which it did, but it was more about the way he did it. It was as if he learned tons from his debut, distributing his energy much more efficiently. The Asmussen barn wisely gave him more than ample recovery time and has found a logical spot for his two-turn debut. Bred to handle added distance on the dam’s side; he has early speed, the pole and Ramon Dominguez, a formidable trio.

Tall Poppi (3-1) has raced five times, has experience going long and has met several hard hitters. While second in three starts, it might be too early to give up on the son of Intidab. In his most recent start, the Great White Way division of the NY Stallion, he ran into a colt, Lookin At Her, who gave a career best performance that afternoon. He’s worked thrice since that effort, including two recent bullets. His stalking style and Eibar Coa should insure a good trip, as several appear capable of pressing Haynesfield early.

Still, we’re playing the percentages, and the figures, and taking Haynesfield to win at 2-1 or greater, and boxing him in the exacta with Tall Poppi.

Running Totals: (323) 97-66-44. Total Dollar Return: $680.80 [win selections only]