Eight juveniles have been entered to go 6 1/2 furlongs on Saturday at Del Mar in the $200,000 Best Pal Stakes (G2), and Run Away will try to live up this name for trainer Simon Callaghan.
The bay colt is unbeaten in two career starts, breaking his maiden by 2 1/4 lengths on May 26 and capturing the 5 1/2-furlong Santa Anita Juvenile Stakes on July 3 by 1 1/2 lengths. The two-year-old son of Run Away and Hide earned a 94 BRIS Speed rating for that latter contest, easily surpassing any of his rivals on Saturday.
Run Away had Flavien Prat in the irons for both of his races thus far, and Callaghan will give him another leg up on Saturday.
Arawak will attempt to regain the form that saw him romp by seven lengths in an off-the-turf maiden on May 26 at Belmont Park. Trainer Wesley Ward shipped the Uncle Mo colt to England for a try at Royal Ascot off that performance, but the bay juvenile could do no better than 12th in the Coventry Stakes (Eng-G2) on June 20.
John Velazquez piloted the Kentucky-bred in his first two outings, but Julio Garcia will be in the irons for Arawak’s return to action in this spot.
Serengeti took two tries to break his maiden, but did so in spectacular fashion on June 25 at Santa Anita Park. The Bob Baffert-trained son of Algorithms wired that five-furlong test by 11 lengths under Mike Smith. The Hall of Fame rider returns to the saddle as Serengeti makes his stakes debut here.
Master Ruler has a question mark next to his name considering the Overdriven colt will be making his U.S. debut in the Best Pal. Trained by John Sadler, the dark bay juvenile began his career in Puerto Rico, easily capturing this initial two races. He gets leading rider Evin Roman holding the reins for his stateside bow, which can only help his chances.
Dia de Pago will be making his first start for new trainer Vladimir Cerin here after breaking his maiden at first asking while under the tutelage of trainer Mary Lightner at Gulfstream Park on June 18. An Ocala Ten was well-beaten in his debut on June 25 at Santa Anita Park, and dropped down in class to a maiden claimer to break his maiden last out on July 22 over the track. Fleetwood will attempt to break his maiden in this spot for trainer Keith Desormeaux.
Completing the Best Pal field is Armour Plate, who may use the contest as a prep for the $100,000 Del Mar Juvenile Turf on September 3 after earning his first victory going a mile on July 1 over the grass at Santa Anita. The bay son of Into Mischief finished fourth in his career debut on dirt.
“He didn’t have a chance to run long again, so it’s either (the Best Pal) or go in cold to the Del Mar Juvenile Turf,” trainer Eddie Truman explained. “It’s kind of a shot, but we’ll see if he likes the dirt here and go from there. Hopefully, he can finish strong and catch some other horses at the end.”