Drafted Bypassing G3 Runhappy Title Defense for Laurel Allowance

April 16, 2023

Drafted wins last year’s G3 Runhappy (Joe Labozzetta)

NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Dublin Fjord Stables, Racepoint Stables, Kevin D. Hilbert and Thomas O’Keefe’s multiple graded-stakes winning millionaire Drafted breezed a half-mile in 49.49 Saturday over the Belmont Park dirt training track.

Trainer David Duggan said the 9-year-old Field Commission gelding, who boasts a record of 35-10-3-5 for purse earnings in excess of $1.1 million, will bypass a title defense in the six-furlong Grade 3, $175,000 Runhappy on May 13 at Belmont Park in favor of an allowance tilt at Laurel as he looks to secure his first win of the year.

The veteran gelding opened his campaign with a third-place finish in the Grade 3 Toboggan here in January ahead of a troubled sixth last out in the Grade 3 Tom Fool Handicap on March 4.

Drafted posted a record of 9-4-1-1 last year led by NYRA circuit wins in the seven-furlong Grade 3 Toboggan and six-furlong Gravesend at the Big A, and the six-furlong Grade 3 Runhappy at Belmont Park. He also notched a rallying score in the six-furlong Mr. Prospector at Monmouth Park ahead of a runner-up effort in the Alapocas Run at Delaware Park.

“He’s 9-years-old and doesn’t need to be taking on these young guns,” Duggan said. “It’s a salty group of sprinters here at the moment, so our plan is to go for an open allowance race at Laurel at the end of this month and try to win [stakes] back at Monmouth and Delaware. The Grade 3 here is going to look like a Grade 2 or a Grade 1.”

Duggan said he’s content to pick his spots with the evergreen gelding.

“If we have to run him for a tag, then we won’t run him anymore. He’s made his million. He’s been an iron horse,” Duggan said. “I’d like to run him at Saratoga if there’s something available. We’ll see how it plays out.”

Duggan saddled Clear Stars Stable, Mitre Box Stable and Big Toe Stables’ Rough Draft to a game three-quarter length score in Saturday’s opening race here, a six-furlong state-bred turf allowance for 3-year-olds and up.

Rough Draft broke outward but saved ground under Trevor McCarthy before tipping out and collaring Sandrone with enough in the tank to stave off the onrushing Conman. He stopped the clock in 1:07.92 and earned an 84 Beyer Speed Figure.

“That was quite impressive. I know it was a fast track yesterday, but you have to like what you saw. Any time they step up like that you’re quite happy,” Duggan said.

The 4-year-old Editorial gelding, bred in the Empire State by Climax Stallions, was purchased privately out of a head score on debut in November at the Big A traveling six furlongs over the turf in a state-bred maiden special weight for his former trainer and co-owner Linda Rice.

Duggan said the bay trained forwardly into his seasonal debut.

“He’d been working well enough, but he was a turf horse working on the dirt. It was a bit of a class test, but he won nicely,” Duggan said. “They bought him privately out of his last race and it was a good buy. You couldn’t help but like him the way he won first time out and the price was right. Once we ticked all the boxes, we were quite happy to get him.”

Duggan said Rough Draft will likely aim for another local turf sprint before trying to stretch out in distance.

“We’ll stick to what works right now,” Duggan said. “He’ll go back in a 2-other-than and if he passes that, we can test the waters going a route of ground. He doesn’t act like a one-dimensional sprinter.”

@jonathanstettin Boom! Both Pick 3's around the single! Stacks! #Membershippays

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