How to bet the Runhappy Stakes at Aqueduct

May 9th, 2024

Stakes winner #1 Straight No Chaser will face five foes in his anticipated return to racing in Saturday’s $175,000 Runhappy S. (G3), one of four graded races on the excellent card at Aqueduct. I think that there are two ways to attack the race – one is by putting the favorite on top and handicapping the sprint for second place, or by going against the bay with the thought that he might need one off of the long absence. My thinking is that the morning-line choice will be ready to roll under John Velazquez. 

Runhappy Wagers

  • $25 exacta 1 with 4 ($25)
  • $15 exacta 1 with 3 ($15)

Straight No Chaser will take command soon after the start, with his main pace foe directly to his outside in David Jacobson’s #2 Durante. While I feel that the latter, who was impressive in his Bold Ruler (G3) victory on the oval in the fall, is a very good horse, chasing the favorite from the break will leave him leg-weary inside the final furlong. 

#6 Joey Freshwater exits a huge allowance win for Linda Rice where he earned a lifetime best 103 Brisnet Speed figure. The Jimmy Creed four-year-old likes to press the pace and has a nice draw to do so, but I think that he could be vulnerable in the lane as well if he tries to keep up with Straight No Chaser early on. #5 Twenty Four Mamba seems to have a good rapport with jockey Dylan Davis, but his descending Speed figures are something I am always fearful of. So I’m left with a pair of late runners to complete the exacta in the field. 

I feel that #4 Ninetyprcentmaddie found his niche as a closing sprinter for Butch Reid. He concluded 2023 with a huge second to Post Time at Laurel Park, and the four-year-old put in a good run to kick off this season most recently, as well. The gelding is a stakes winner on the strip and gets Irad. 

#3 Stage Left is just 1-for-12 on the course, but the Jacobson pupil has some class to him and also possesses the right running style for the heat. The Congrats eight-year-old is not showing signs of slowing down and can surely rally for a share with the right voyage under Ramon Vazquez.