DEL MAR, CA – Kaleem Shah’s Run Away more than lived up to his name, winning Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Best Pal Stakes by 3 1/2 lengths.
Quickly stamping himself as one of the nation’s top 2-year-old colts, the Simon Callaghan trainee followed closed behind early leader An Ocala Ten through fractions of :22.13 and :45.10 before deciding that he was done playing the follower. Run Away took charge and took off under jockey Flavien Prat, completing the 6 1/2-furlong main track race in 1:17.91.
“I knew he’d run well,” Prat said. “He’d been training so well, but I didn’t really expect to win by that far. Simon has done a great job with him, though, and he’s a very talented colt, so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. Can he run farther? We don’t know. We know he can run 6 1/2 furlongs, so we’ll enjoy that for a while.”
Dia de Pago overcame being squeezed at the start and trailing throughout most of the race to rally late for second. Fleetwood checked in at third, with Master Ruler, Arawak, Serengeti, Armour Plate, and An Ocala Ten completing the order of finish.
Now a winner in three straight starts, Run Away all but stamped himself as the odds-on favorite to win the Grade 1, $300,000 Del Mar Futurity, which will be held on September 4 at Del Mar.
“I think it was even better than his last race,” Callaghan said of the son of Run Away And Hide. “He’s got great gate speed, but he isn’t one of those horses that is speed crazy. I thought he’d get over this track well. I was a little nervous when he put in a slow breeze (5 furlongs, 1:03.60 a week earlier) when I was in Saratoga, but my team here assured me that it was a good breeze. He’s just a cool horse – fast, very mature, and I think he’s going to get better as we stretch out. The Futurity is next.”
Run Away returned $5 to win, $3.40 to place, and $2.60 to show. Dia de Pago brought back $13.40 to place and $6.20 to show, while Fleetwood paid $3.80 to show.