Heaven's Runway earned his first career graded stakes win on Thanksgiving Day in the $200,000 Fall Highweight H. (G3) at Aqueduct. The 6-year-old son of Run Away and Hide previously won a pair of listed black type events, and now has earned $537,925 in his illustrious career.
When the field broke for the six-furlong Highweight, Heaven's Runway took back along the fence and was near the back of the eight-horse field for the first three furlongs. Heaven's Runway slowly gained on the leaders on the turn, but it wasn't until about a furlong to run, when Junior Alvarado took the veteran runner to the outside, that he really took off.
Coming from fifth to first in the final sixteenth, Heaven's Runway overtook even-money favorite Stallwalkin' Dude in the final strides to win by a neck in 1:10.19. His 102 Beyer Speed Figure was a lifetime best.
"I just followed instructions," Alvarado said. "Rudy (trainer Rodriguez) was very, very confident with this horse. In the paddock he told me he claimed this horse exactly for this race. I took his word because he's a very good trainer. He only told me, 'save ground, stay on the rail as long as you can. If you find a way inside then go for it if not tip out.'
"I just made sure to do exactly what he told me to do and it worked out," he added. "We got the trip and we got the win. I knew they were going to come back I just had to gauge if I would have enough kick in the end. There were some very nice horses in the race. I couldn't really get excited until we passed the wire."
With 41 starts on his resume, Heaven's Runway upped his mark to 6-4-7 for co-owners Michael Dubb and Michael Imperio.
Run Away and Hide, who will stand for a fee of $5,000 in 2017, has four stakes horses this year, including multiple Grade 2 winner Are You Kidding Me.