12/22/2009 1:00AM

Rig's Runner stuck in post 10 again


Rig's Runner overcame a host of obstacles to win his two-turn debut last out and establish himself as the horse to beat Saturday in the $125,000 Red Hedeman Mile at Sunland Park. The race, which drew a field of 10, is restricted to 2-year-olds bred in New Mexico.

Rig's Runner is one of the division's chief players, having overcome post 10, other front-runners, and a laboring track to win the $130,000 Eddy County at a mile at Zia Park on Dec. 6.

"He ran great," said Cliff Lambert, who trains Rig's Runner. "He's got speed - he can lay any place - and he finished real strong the last time."

Rig's Runner will have to overcome another wide post Saturday, as he again drew gate 10.

"I don't like it, but he's got enough speed that it shouldn't bother him," Lambert said. "I think he'll be up close to the lead, maybe on the lead."

Rig's Runner has won 4 of 9 starts this year, including the George Maloof Futurity at the Downs at Albuquerque. According to Lambert, the two times he has been off the board he has had excuses. Lambert said Rig's Runner bucked his shins when sixth in the Copper Top Futurity in April. He returned to action over the summer, and was found to have some congestion when fifth in the Rio Grande Senor Futurity in July.

"He had a lung infection and we didn't know," Lambert said. "He had trained great. Since then, he hasn't done anything wrong."

Rig's Runner has won three of his last four races, with his lone loss a runner-up finish to Chuchuluco in the $152,000 New Mexico Cup Juvenile. Casey Lambert has the mount on Rig's Runner for owner Derrell Riggan.

The biggest threat is Huntin the Trash, a horse with tactical speed who was second by 1 1/4 lengths to Rig's Runner in the Eddy County. The race was Huntin the Trash's two-turn debut, and he finished 15 lengths clear of the third-place finisher, My Picasso.

"He's a great big horse with a long stride on him, and I think the route was good for him," said Mark Villa, the regular rider on Huntin the Trash for trainer Carlos Sedillo. "With his running style, he can route, but he can run short, too."

Villa said he liked that Huntin the Trash drew post 4 for the Hedeman. Earlier this year, he guided the horse to a seven-length win in the $35,000 A.C. Kemp at Albuquerque.