08/12/2017 5:52PM

Rivers Run Deep wins Honey Jay Stakes for fourth consecutive year

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JJ Zamaiko
Rivers Run Deep wins the Honey Jay for the fourth year in a row.

Rivers Run Deep powered clear in the lane for a 2 1/4-length victory in the $75,000 Honey Jay Stakes for Ohio-bred sprinters on Saturday at Thistledown, winning the race for the fourth consecutive year and becoming a millionaire in the process.

Rivers Run Deep, who lacked running room breaking from the rail, was patiently handled early by jockey Eduardo Perez and was sitting third, about a length and a half behind, with a quarter-mile remaining in the six-furlong race. Perez shifted his mount out three wide for running room, and Rivers Run Deep rallied past leaders Alliseeisgold, who had set an honest pace, and Bootsonthebeach, pulling clear to his final margin. He stopped the clock in 1:10.82.

“The only time he was beat [at Thistledown] he was run into the rail, so I’m always concerned when he’s tight down inside,” trainer Chris Hartman said. “But once he gets to doing his thing, he just gets it done. He’s a virtual ATM machine. He knows his job and he does it well.”

Alliseeisgold held second by a head over a rallying Hijo de Sheltowee. The third place finisher was 6 3/4 lengths clear of a fading Bootsonthebeach.

Rivers Run Deep pushed his career earnings to $1,008,805 with his 14th career stakes victory. In addition to winning the Honey Jay four straight years, he has also won the Best of Ohio Sprint Stakes three straight times, and the Edward Babst/Albert Palacios Memorial Handicap three years in a row. All three races were part of an outstanding 2016 campaign in which the 6-year-old horse won six of seven starts, with only a half-length loss against open-company stakes competition in the Mighty Beau Stakes on the Churchill Downs turf.