07/16/2016 3:57PM

Runaway Lute overcomes poor start to win Rockville Centre Stakes

Chelsea Durand/NYRA photo
Runaway Lute and jockey Javier Castellano win the Rockville Centre Stakes by 8 3/4 lengths Saturday.

ELMONT, N.Y. – It wasn’t necessarily in the plan for Runaway Lute to bobble at the beginning of Saturday’s $125,000 Rockville Centre Stakes for New York-breds at Belmont Park. But the sloppy start may have proved beneficial in the end.

Showing the ability to come from off the pace after the poor break, Runaway Lute rolled to an 8 3/4-length victory in the Rockville Centre, validating his impressive 12-length maiden score seven weeks ago.

Runaway Lute won his debut on the front end. On Saturday, he bobbled coming out of the gate and had to sit third behind Manifest Destiny and Silver Mission. Jockey Javier Castellano was actually fine with that.

“I don’t want to rush and put him on the lead, I want to teach him something,” Castellano said. “I think today that’s the perfect scenario to do that – six-horse field, and I just had it in my mind to rate a little bit, see how good is the horse.”

The leaders dueled through a quarter in 22.16 seconds and a half-mile in 45.85, with Runaway Lute only 1 1/2 lengths back. Turning for home, Castellano tipped Runaway Lute three paths wide, and by the eighth pole, he had rocketed past the dueling duo.

Though Runaway Lute drifted somewhat in the stretch, he was much the best. Ethan Hunt rallied from fourth to get second, 1 1/4 lengths over his Todd Pletcher-trained stablemate, Silver Mission, the even-money favorite. Manifest Destiny and Concatulations completed the order of finish.

Runaway Lute, a son of Midnight Lute owned by Harold Lerner and the Nehoc Stables of Dale Cohen and trained by Gary Contessa, covered the six furlongs in 1:10.82 and returned $4.90 to win.

“He showed me a lot of potential. I think he’s going to be a really good horse in the future,” Castellano said. “He broke behind the horses, he got a little dirt in the face, he did it the right way.”

Castellano added that Runaway Lute is laid-back, with a good mind.

“It’s a big advantage for a jockey to ride those kinds of horses,” he said.

Contessa said he was glad to see Runaway Lute show a different dimension than when he won his debut.

“If you want to have a good horse, he’s got to have that ability to not have things go his way and win anyway,” Contessa said. “I’m glad to see this. I always thought this horse was a super horse.”

Contessa said Runaway Lute would make his next start against open company in either the Grade 2, $200,000 Saratoga Special on Aug. 14 or the Grade 1, $350,000 Hopeful on Sept. 5.