Aqueduct: How to bet the 2023 Damon Runyon Stakes

March 17th, 2023

A total of six New York-bred sophomores will vie in Sunday’s $100,000 Damon Runyon S. at Aqueduct. The talented but compact group will travel six panels on the main strip in what figures to be a competitive tussle.

#5 D’ont Lose Cruz (2-1) is the slight morning-line choice and rates a big chance for conditioner David Duggan. The $100,000 juvenile purchase finished first or second in each of his three starts at two, capped by a close runner-up finish in the Notebook S. in November. Always Dreaming gelding powered home to a sharp allowance victory to commence this campaign, and he was last seen contesting the early pace before tiring to fourth in the Gander S. while making his route debut.

The dark bay cuts back in distance on Sunday and will prosper from a fine post outside of the other speed. D’ont Lose Cruz possesses the gate presence to be in the mix from the break and will get first run approaching the turn for home with Kendrick Carmouche in the silks.

#1 What’s Up Bro (3-1) finished 5 1/2 lengths behind the top pick in an allowance two back, but returned to dominate similar types most recently for trainer Robert Klesaris. By Dialed In, the $55,000 purchase has looked really good in two of his last three assignments in advance of Sunday, and he proved to be capable of rallying from off of the early tempo last time out when making a wide move through the stretch en route to a clear victory. The gelded bay could benefit from the inner post with Dylan Davis returning to the saddle.

I’m not in love with the win chances of #4 East Coast Girl (9-2), but I do feel that the improving dark bay can be a factor in this tilt from start to finish. One of two in the cast for Kelly Breen, the son of Laoban has fine early foot and has the potential to clear the field with a clean break at a nice price. Regular pilot Jose Gomez will be in the stirrups once again and sending the sophomore from the opening bell.

Damon Runyon Wagers

  • $20 win #5 D’ont Lose Cruz ($20)
  • $15 exacta 5 with 1 ($15)
  • $5 exacta 5 with 4 ($5)
  • $2 trifecta key 5 with 1,4 ($4)