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Aqueduct notes: Runco shipping In the Fairway in for Jimmy Winkfield Stakes
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Trainer Jeff Runco has been very selective over the years when it comes to shipping to New York from his West Virginia base for a stakes race.
While his success rate hasn’t been great – he is just 1 for 7 – his horses have usually run well, with four of the seven finishing in the top three.
Monday, Runco will ship up In the Fairway to run in the $75,000 Jimmy Winkfield Stakes at Aqueduct. The Jimmy Winkfield, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds, is the featured event on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day card.
In the Fairway will meet only four rivals in the Winkfield, including California shipper and supplemental nominee Rubysandpearls.
In the Fairway was cross-entered in Saturday’s Frank Whiteley Jr. Stakes at Laurel, but Runco said Friday that the horse would run in New York.
In the Fairway, a son of Posse, finished sixth, beaten 15 lengths, in his debut at Charles Town on July 22. Runco equipped In the Fairway with blinkers for his next start, and the colt won a 4 1/2-furlong maiden race by 3 1/2 lengths on Aug. 12.
That was the first of four straight wins – three in stakes – including a 1 1/4-length victory in the Tri-State Futurity at Charles Town on Nov. 10.
“He’s a pretty good colt,” said Runco, who won the 2008 Queens County here with Researcher. “He’s done everything we’ve asked. In his last race, he beat some decent horses, so I feel good about coming up there.”
Runco said that In the Fairway got off poorly in his debut, which came over a muddy track. While In the Fairway did drift out in his win at Charles Town on Oct. 20, Runco said that was because he caught sight of the gate.
Runco had In the Fairway pointed to a stakes race at Aqueduct in December, but had to skip it when his horse got sick.
Runco said that In the Fairway missed a little bit of training time, but “he’s been going pretty good for the last six weeks.”
Junior Alvarado will ride In the Fairway from post 4.
Rubysandpearls will be making his fifth career start for his third different trainer. After beginning his career in Florida for Larry Pilotti, he made his last start in a claiming race at Betfair Hollywood Park for Peter Miller. He will be making his first start for David Jacobson here.
Completing the field are Clawback, a good-looking maiden winner here Dec. 13; Winning Cause, trained by Todd Pletcher; and Meeker Avenue, winner of a New York Stallion Stakes in November.
Ruler On Ice nearing return
Ruler On Ice, winless in nine starts since he upset the 2011 Belmont Stakes, worked five furlongs in 1:00.84 over the Belmont Park training track Friday. It was the fastest of 14 works at the distance.
Ruler On Ice worked in company with Roman Invasion. Ruler On Ice has worked five times since being eased in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
“He’s almost ready,” trainer Kelly Breen said.
Breen gave Ruler On Ice some time off following the Gold Cup.
“He had some little issues,” Breen said. “We’re just trying to do some different things. He seems to be doing good, but at the same time, I don’t have anything picked out for him just yet.”
Also working for Breen on Friday was the 3-year-old Vegas No Show, who went four furlongs in 47.81 seconds over the training track.
Vegas No Show, who won the Dover Stakes at 2, most recently finished fifth in the Jerome at Aqueduct.
Breen said he was uncertain whether he would run Vegas No Show back in the Withers here Feb. 2 or try to find a softer spot.
State to investigate exacta payout
The New York State Racing and Wagering Board is investigating the payoff of the exacta on Thursday’s sixth race, which came back a little short considering the odds of the horses involved.
The race was won by 30-1 shot Everyotherdayhero, with 16-1 shot Privatize finishing second. The exacta returned a paltry $246.50.
“We are investigating the matter,” Lee Park, a spokesman for the board wrote in an e-mail.
Jose Ortiz continues to roll
Apprentice jockey Jose Ortiz won two more races here Friday, giving him his ninth multiple win day at Aqueduct since New Year’s Day.
Ortiz, the brother of Irad Ortiz Jr., has a meet-best 34 wins, three more than Ramon Dominguez.
Ortiz won the opener on Rice to Riches ($9.60) and the eighth with Carameaway ($7.10).
◗ Trainer Joe Aquilino sent out his third winner from his last four starters when Run Run Forrest, a 3-year-old first-time starter by Dixie Union, won Friday’s sixth race.
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