Lightly raced with upside and capable off the bench, Big Runnuer might be the one to fear in Friday’s $200,000 Eddie D. Stakes (G2) on opening day of Santa Anita’s fall meet.
An unraced maiden a year ago at age four, Big Runnuer won on debut over the Eddie D. course and distance of 5 1/2 furlongs by four lengths, and then placed in three allowance runs the rest of the season.
Off from late December to late May, in part due to the pandemic-forced shutdown of local racing, Big Runnuer was ready to roll in his comeback, his first sporting blinkers, and followed up with a a 1/4-length tally in the Siren Lure S. when last seen June 21.
Wildman Jack, who romped in a Group 3 at Meydan in March and then eked out a photo-finish win over Sparky Ville in the May 23 Daytona (G3), was off form when trailing in the Shakertown (G2) at Keeneland in July. But the Goldencents gelding fared okay in the Bing Crosby (G1) last out, finishing a respectable fourth in his first dirt appearance.
Not seen since finishing last of eight in the 2019 Eddie D., Mr Vargas previously captured the Green Flash H. (G3) at Del Mar. The allowance-class Grit and Curiosity and Give Me the Lute also merit a look in exotics plans.
The $100,000 Chillingworth Stakes (G3), previously run as the L. A. Woman, is a nominal 6 1/2-furlong prep for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1). Among those lining up are recent Rancho Bernardo H. (G3) runner-up Amuse and the Bob Baffert-trained Qahira and Message.