Big Runnuer coasted on an unchallenged lead and had plenty left to stave off a belated bid from Wildman Jack to take the $201,000 Eddie D. Stakes (G2) on opening day of Santa Anita’s fall meet on Friday.
Ridden by Juan Hernandez, Big Runnuer broke sharply from his outside post, opened up on the field while setting fractions of :21.96 and :43.98, and crossed the wire one length ahead in a time of 1:01.15 going 5 1/2 furlongs on the firm turf.
Owned by Juan Garcia and trained by his son, Victor, Big Runnuer paid $5 as the 3-2 favorite. Following Wildman Jack under the wire were Grit and Curiosity, Sparky Ville, El Tigre Terrible, Give Me the Lute, and Mr Vargas.
This was the fourth win in seven starts and third consecutive for Big Runnuer, who also captured the Siren Lure S. at Santa Anita when last seen on June 21.
“The adding of blinkers made him more focused on the races,” said Victor Garcia when asked about the 5-year-old’s consistent form this year.
Big Runnuer’s record now stands at 7-4-1-2, $253,660. Bred in Kentucky by Mercedes Stable, Big Runnuer is by Stormy Atlantic and out of Elusive Luci, an Elusive Quality half-sister to Grade 1 heroine Stormy Lucy.
One race earlier, Into Chocolate rallied to post an 8-1 upset in the $100,000 Chillingworth Stakes (G3) for fillies and mares, covering 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.86 over a fast track under Umberto Rispoli. Odds-on favorite and long-time leader Qahira held second by a neck over the pace-pressing Amuse.
Owned by Marty and Pam Wygod and trained by Cliff Sise, Into Chocolate paid $19.60. It was the first stakes win for the Into Mischief filly, who previously placed in the 2019 Torrey Pines (G3) and in the Minaret S. at Tampa Bay Downs last February.