Run Away picked got the job done in the $100,000 Barretts Juvenile Saturday at Los Alamitos, but the victory was far from easy for the prohibitive favorite.
Off the pace early and uncomfortable racing between horses, the 2-year-old son of Run Away and Hide looked in danger of finishing off the board for the first time in his career.
However, jockey Flavien Prat was able to get Run Away into the clear for the stretch drive and the 1-5 choice got up in the final strides to defeat 9-2 second choice Smokem by a head.
The victory in 1:16.17 for the 6 ½ furlongs was the fourth in five starts for Run Away, a $325,000 purchase at the Barretts March sale earlier this year by trainer Simon Callaghan for owner Kaleem Shah.
The Juvenile was the third stakes success for Run Away, who has banked $304,400. He's also captured the Santa Anita Juvenile and the Grade II Best Pal at Del Mar. His only defeat came when third as the favorite in the Grade I Del Mar Futurity Sept. 4.
“I told Simon this race scared me because I thought potentially he might bounce because he's been running hard races,'' said Shah. “Turning for home today I was quite nervous. Luckily he came running.
“(Prat) said the dirt (in his face) was bothering him and once he got him outside he took off. He'll get a little bit of a well-deserved rest now.''
Run Away paid $2.40 and $2.10. There was no show wagering. The place price on Smokem, who finished four lengths in front of 10-1 shot and pacesetter Crazy Uncle Rick, was $2.80.
“He didn't have any speed today,'' said Prat. “Around the turn I was between horses and he's never been between horses before, but luckily there's a long stretch.
“Once I put him in the clear he started making his run.''
Apprentice jockey Evin Roman increased his lead in the rider standings with a Saturdaydouble. Roman, the leading man at the Summer Thoroughbred Festival in July, has 15 winners, four more than closest pursuer Brayan Pena, entering the final day of the Los Angeles County Fair meet.
Doug O'Neill tripled Saturday, winning the third with Bow and Arrow, the sixth with Pray Hard and the ninth with Magical Lucy to pull into a tie with Molly Pearson and Jeff Bonde in the trainer standings. They each have five wins through the first 11 days of the meet.
Racing resumes Sunday at Los Alamitos. Post time is 2 p.m.
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