08/12/2017 10:00PM

Run Away dominant in Best Pal Stakes

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Benoit & Associates
Run Away solidified his position as the best 2-year-old male on the West Coast with an authoritative victory in the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes on Saturday at Del Mar.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Last Saturday it was Saratoga. This week it was Del Mar. From coast to coast, trainer Simon Callaghan and owner Kaleem Shah are knocking off stakes wins, this time with Run Away, who solidified his position as the best 2-year-old male on the West Coast with a dominating victory in the Grade 2, $201,035 Best Pal Stakes.

Run Away ($5) showed high speed to overcome his rail draw, put away an early challenge from longshot An Ocala Ten, then kicked clear in upper stretch before reporting home 3 1/2 lengths in front of 26-1 shot Dia de Pago, who rallied from last in the field of eight to finish second.

Fleetwood was another 2 1/2 lengths back in third, then came, in order, Master Ruler, Arawak, Serengeti, Armour Plate, and An Ocala Ten.

Serengeti was favored at 6-5, but struggled early to enter contention and flattened out. His rider, Mike Smith, pantomimed a swimming motion when asked why Serengeti ran below par.

Run Away took 1:17.91 to cover 6 1/2 furlongs on the fast main track. He is the acknowledged favorite for the Grade 1, $300,000 Del Mar Futurity on closing day, Sept. 4. Shah won the Futurity last year with Klimt, who was trained then by Bob Baffert.

Shah and Baffert split at the beginning of the year, and Callaghan eventually ended up with American Gal, who won the Grade 1 Test last Saturday at Saratoga. Run Away, though, is a horse bought by Shah and sent directly to Callaghan. Run Away, a 2-year-old colt by Run Away and Hide, was purchased for $325,000 at Barretts in March.

“I love 2-year-old-in-training sales. They’ve been really good to me,” said Shah, who purchased his most successful runners, Bayern and Dortmund, at similar sales. “You know they can run a little bit.”

Run Away won his debut on May 26 at Santa Anita, then came back five weeks later and won the Santa Anita Juvenile. He is now 3 for 3, with Flavien Prat riding him each time.

“He’s got great gate speed, but he isn’t one of those horses who’s speed crazy,” Callaghan said. “He’s just a cool horse. Fast, very mature.”

Callaghan said the past week has been “fun.”

“You always hope it goes like this at this level,” he said. “It’s a testament to my team. I felt nervous today. I’m normally pretty calm, but I felt butterflies today.”

Callaghan said he doesn’t have anything lined up to run for Shah in a stakes next week.

“I better find something,” he said, laughing.