Runco Saddles 4000th Winner Saturday At Laurel Park

Vina Racing Stable’s Vua Saigon prevailed along the inside after an extended stretch drive to win Saturday’s fifth race at Laurel Park and give trainer Jeff Runco his 4,000thcareer victory.

Based at Charles Town in West Virginia, the 58-year-old Runco ranks 12th all-time among trainers in wins and is one of just a dozen to reach the 4,000 milestone. He has won at least 100 races in all but one year since 1991, six years after sending out his first winner in 1985.

“There’s been a lot of work behind scenes on this, a lot of good clients, a lot of help, a lot of assistants. My wife [Susan] has been a big part of it.,” Runco said. “We’ve raised a lot of horses. It’s just a tremendous amount of effort from everybody to get this done.”

Via Saigon, a gelded 3-year-old son of Algorithms making his eighth career start, set fractions of 22.58 and 46.45 seconds before dropping 1 ½  lengths behind Lil Love Machine entering the stretch. Under jockey Luis Rodriguez, Via Saigon ($13.20) rallied again on the rail and held off The Great Ronaldo to win by a neck.

“It’s nice to win it here at Laurel,” Runco said. “We thought it was going to happen at Charles Town but with horse racing you never know exactly when things are going to happen. We’ll take it where we can get it and keep going on.”

A native of Omaha, Neb., Runco won 160 races as a jockey between 1980 and 1984 until weight issues forced him from the irons. He saddled his first horses in 1984 and has won 60 stakes in his career, his lone graded triumph coming in the 2008 Queens County Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct.

Runco also won the first two runnings of Charles Town’s signature race, the Charles Town Classic, in 2009 and 2010, with Queens County winner Researcher. The CT Classic now carries Grade 2 status.

“We’ve had a lot of really good milestones over the years, winning the Charles Town Classic and winning graded stakes in New York, but this is definitely the highlight of our career,” Runco said. “It’s nice to get it here at Laurel at the big track, but I can’t say enough about my home track. We’ve had a lot of wins there and they’ve been a big part of this. It’s been a great day.”

The post Runco Saddles 4000th Winner Saturday At Laurel Park appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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