By Sarah Mace
Chester and Mary Broman’s Haul Anchor bounced back in a big way Thursday from his first career off-the-board finish in the Sleepy Hollow last Showcase Day, when he dominated the $100,000 Damon Runyon Stakes for New York-bred juveniles at a mile and 70 yard.
At the bell, Linda Rice-trained Carradine got a jump on the Damon Runyon field from mid-pack, but was overhauled by a trio of horses heading into the first turn, among them the 2-year old Bernardini homebred Haul Anchor and Mo Maverick.
Haul Anchor set up at the rail establishing, a 3/4-length lead over Mo Maverick through the first turn, while on the backstretch two lengths back 33-1 long shot D’yer Mak’er moved up into third.
Through the far turn, the order of the front-runners remained unchanged. Haul Anchor forged on, now ahead by a length at the quarter pole after six furlongs in 1:13.85.
Haul Anchor drew off comfortably in the stretch without facing a challenge, winning by 4 1/2 lengths in a final time of 1:45.69. Mo Maverick finished second, 3 1/2 lengths ahead of Carradine, who made his way back up into third place. D’yer Mak’er completed the superfecta. Voodoo Song, Tellmeafookystory, Mollica and Macho Mia crossed the finish line next in order. Bourbon Empire was scratched. Let go at generous odds of 13-1, Haul Anchor paid $29.20 to win. [VIDEO]
Veteran pilot Cornelio Velasquez said, “My horse was fast from the gate and [Mo Maverick] was sent [to the front]. My horse always wants to go on the lead and I tried not to pull him too much. [Mo Maverick] moved out a little bit and gave me a break. He never stopped, he finished good. I had a lot of horse at the quarter-pole. Today, he ran big.”
Joe Lee, assistant to winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, focused on the surface and distance. “He was training well so we thought he’d run well,” said Lee. “We weren’t crazy about the rain, but it was more of a sealed type of track, so we thought he’d get it over it well. As far as his breeding, we always thought he’d go long. In the mornings, he gallops really well at a mile-and-a-half and it doesn’t really take anything out of him, so I didn’t think the distance would be a problem for him.”
Lee continued, “It seemed like speed was holding and we thought that he would get over the ground well with it being on the firmer, packed-side, and he’d continue to run on. Knowing that fitness wasn’t an issue, we thought it would be [good] to go to the front and Cornelio [Velasquez] said ‘we’ll lay close and if we get the lead we get the lead and if we don’t, we’ll just sit.'”
Haul Anchor, who thrives on or near the lead, opened his account with a pair of solid runner-up finishes at Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course in July and August, before breaking his maiden going 5 1/2 furlongs at Saratoga on September 1.
Back downstate, the colt showed an aptitude for off-going when he finished second by two lengths to Mirai in the Bertram F. Bongard at Belmont. He then threw in his Sleepy Hollow clunker in the slop on Showcase day, fading after flashing early speed in his route debut. The colt came into the Damon Runyon with a string of solid interim works under his belt.
Lee added, “He came out of his last race in good fashion and there was a thought to giving him some time off, but he was really doing well, so knowing that, we decided to keep him going. He’s filled out and grown and put on some weight. We’re happy we kept going.”
From a pair of wins and three seconds from six starts this year, Haul Anchor has earned $143,000.
Haul Anchor’s dam Whichwaydidshego (Storm Cat) was purchased by Chester Broman for $425,000 at the 2009 Keeneland November sale. A winning half-sister to the multiple Grade 2 winner Fed Biz, she issues from the family of Minardi, Tale of the Cat and Johannesburg.
Whichwaydidshego has worked out well for Bromans, already producing multiple stakes winners Mark My Way (Noonmark) and Hard to Stay Notgo (More than Ready). On the ground are a yearling full sister to Haul Anchor and a weanling filly by Will Take Charge. The mare was bred to Malibu Moon in 2016.