Edited NYRA Staff Release – Trainer Norman “Lynn” Cash is still relishing his first graded stakes triumph with Double Crown in Saturday’s Grade 2, $300,000 Kelso, who ran down heavy favorite Baby Yoda in deep stretch to spring a 42-1 upset as the longest shot in the field.
Double Crown was claimed by Cash for $40,000 in June following a narrow runner-up effort at Churchill Downs. He arrived at the Kelso off a fourth-place finish one week earlier in the Maryland Millions Classic at Laurel Park.
“It’s amazing. Seven days earlier, we ran fourth in the Maryland Million,” Cash said. “It was just a hair too long for him also. We thought the one-turn mile would be a good spot for him. I would rather put them in good spots and travel than stay and have mediocre or poor spots. I had a five-horse field [on Saturday] and I was hoping to just catch the board. But that horse, he just kept coming.”
Cash plans on pointing his newly crowned graded-stakes winner towards the Grade 1, $750,000 Cigar Mile on December 3 at Aqueduct, but said he also could spin the horse back in two weeks for the $135,000 Artie Schiller going a two-turn mile over the turf.
“We’ll come back for the Cigar Mile. We won’t be the favorite again, and I’m sure there will be some big boys coming for that race. But anything can happen,” Cash said. “There’s a turf mile in two weeks and we might look at that. That would give us two weeks there and three weeks to the Cigar Mile, which I think would time perfectly.”
Double Crown, a 5-year-old son of Bourbon Courage, earned an 89 Beyer Speed Figure for his Kelso score. A two-time stakes winner as a 3-year-old for his previous trainer Kathy Ritvo, he was a respective third and second in the Grade 3 Smile Sprint at Gulfstream Park and Grade 3 Chick Lang at Pimlico Race Course.
Cash was a nose away from doubling up on graded stakes scores Saturday with Eastern Bay, who finished second in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler, coming up a nose shy of the resilient Runninsonofagun.
Eastern Bay, a 9-year-old son of E Dubai, was previously second to Elite Power in the Grade 2 Vosburgh on October 8 at Belmont at the Big A. He was one of three Bold Ruler aspirants trained by Cash, who also had Steinbeck [sixth] and Jalen Journey [seventh] in the six-furlong test for 3-year-olds and upward.
“That horse is an amazing horse. He’s a 9-year-old and just a hard knocker,” Cash said of Eastern Bay. “He’s always there and always coming. Just a nice, deep closer. I had Steinbeck in that race, too and 300 yards up the stretch I thought he might’ve been a winner. He’s younger and just coming on, but he ran a big race, too. Eastern Bay though, he’s always there.”
Cash said a return to Aqueduct is likely in the cards for Eastern Bay, who could target the Grade 3, $175,000 Fall Highweight going six furlongs on November 26.
“He’s run twice in two monster races up there and ran second. We’ll be there,” Cash said. “I was actually the favorite in the Fall Highweight last year with Sir Alfred James and he did not like Aqueduct. But Eastern Bay, in all likeliness, will be up there for the Fall Highweight.”
Runninsonofagun earns 97 BSF for G3 Bold Ruler win
The Estate of Scott Zimmerman’s Runninsonofagun equaled a career-best 97 Beyer Speed Figure for his gutsy score in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Bold Ruler for 3-year-olds and up sprinting six furlongs at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet.
Trained by John Toscano, Jr., Runninsonofagun fought hard for the victory under Kendrick Carmouche, rallying from sixth-of-10 to battle gamely down the lane and hold off Eastern Bay by a nose. The 4-year-old son of Gun Runner posted the breakthrough triumph after four consecutive graded placings, including a good third behind Jack Christopher in the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial on August 27 at Saratoga Race Course.
John Toscano, III, Toscano, Jr.’s son and assistant, said Runninsonofagun was proud of himself the morning after.
“He ate good and left a little dinner, but that’s to be expected from him. So far, so good. He’ll fill out as he gets a little older,” said Toscano, III. “He looks good and is bright-eyed.”
Runninsonofagun became the ninth graded stakes winner for his red-hot sire Gun Runner, and boosted his total purse earnings to nearly $370,000. But the bay gelding was not always expected to reach such heights, selling for just $16,000 at last January’s Keeneland Horses of Racing Age Sale, compared to an average price of $270,688 in 2021 for 2-year-olds by his top sire.
Runninsonofagun has defied his sale price with his consistency this year, something Toscano, III said proves a good horse can come from anywhere.
“He has come a long way,” said Toscano, III. “He was a $16,000 2-year-old and then the people who bought him ran him for a $30,000 tag first time out. They ran him for $40,000 after, and we were lucky enough to win a three-way shake to get him. The stars all aligned and it was meant to be. Gun Runner got better at four, and hopefully, he can too.”
Runninsonofagun is just the fourth sophomore to win the Bold Ruler, joining Chief Tamanco , Clearly Now  and Maximum Security . Toscano, III said maturity, along with the addition of blinkers this summer, has allowed Runninsonofagun to be competitive against elders.
“The three others that won weren’t too shabby, and I’d take any one of their careers,” Toscano, III said, with a laugh. “He’ll definitely be one of the big boys as he keeps growing. Kendrick told us to put blinkers on him and he breezed him for the Allen Jerkens with them on. Kendrick said, ‘Run him.’ It was a big difference.”
Toscano, III added that the Grade 3, $175,000 Fall Highweight Handicap on November 26 at the Big A is likely the next target.
Runninsonofagun, who was bred in Kentucky by Dattt Farm, is out of the multiple stakes placed Malibu Moon mare Golden Artemis, who also produced Grade 1-winner My Conquestadory and stakes-placed Saharan. He hails from the family of multiple graded stakes-winner Kelly Kip and graded winner Meadow Gem.
Freedom Trail earns 77 Beyer for $120K Awad score
Gatsas Stables, R.A. Hill Stable and Steven Schoenfeld’s Freedom Trail emerged from his triumphant stakes debut in Saturday’s $120,000 Awad on the Big A outer turf, “as good as you would want” according to trainer John Terranova.
Freedom Trail earned a 77 Beyer Speed Figure for his three-quarter length triumph in the 1 1/16-mile Awad at Belmont at the Big A, launching a strong turn-of-foot in the stretch drive to collar pacesetter Dandy Handyman in the final furlong despite being widest of all. The win was reminiscent of his September 25 debut victory over the same surface and distance, where he also displayed a wide late kick, going from sixth-to-first in the last two points of call.
“Everything was great. He cooled out fantastically,” Terranova said. “He was eating up everything like he went out for a normal day. He looks good. He’s a very strong horse. Nothing that we’ve seen really knocks him off his game at this point. He’s doing everything right and thriving off it.”
Terranova was unsure of a potential next start for Freedom Trail, with one option being the $120,000 Central Park at 1 1/16-miles on turf on November 26. He did say that a start on the dirt could be in the bay colt’s near future, citing how well Freedom Trail has breezed over the main track.
“There’s not really much around. I know there’s the race here, but it’s cutting back to a mile. So I don’t know if we do something like that,” Terranova said. “We’ll think about the dirt with a horse like him that wants to go a distance of ground. He’s worked very well on the dirt. We’ll see how he trains on the next couple of weeks and figure it out from there. That would certainly not be off the consideration list.”
Freedom Trail provided freshman stallion Collected with his first stakes winner in capturing the Awad. Bred in Kentucky by LNJ Foxwoods, he is out of the War Front mare Freedom, who is a half-sibling to Hoppertunity and Executiveprivilege, who were both multiple Grade 1 winners on dirt.
Aqueduct fall meet Week 1 stakes probables
Saturday, November 5
$120K Atlantic Beach
Probable: Chiringo (George Weaver), Inflation Nation (Christophe Clement), Panama (Brian Lynch), Vacation Dance (John Kimmel)
Possible: Be Of Courage (John Pregman, Jr.), Seismic Spirit (Wesley Ward)
$120K Stewart Manor
Probable: Alluring Angel (Jorge Abreu), Dontlookbackatall (Clement), Dulcia (Joe Sharp), Georgees Spirit (J. Abreu), Recinto Rompere (Arnaud Delacour), Redifined (Anthony Dutrow), Showgirl Lynne B (Robert Hess, Jr.)
Possible: Playlist (Ward), Twice as Sweet (Brendan Walsh)
Sunday, November 6
Probable: Champions Dream (Danny Gargan), Full Moon Madness (Michelle Nevin), Torrone (Kelly Breen)
Possible: Love Me Not (Gregg Sacco)
Probable: Binsky (Linda Rice), Foggy Night (Butch Reid, Jr.), Good Sam (Chad Brown), La Vita Sofia (Rudy Rodriguez), Rosie’s Alibi (Todd Pletcher)
Possible: Batucada (Brad Cox)