Excellent Timing romps for new connections in Damon Runyon

Sunday, March 14th, 2021

Excellent Timing rolls to victory in Damon Runyon in first start for new connections. NYRA Photo.

By Tom Law

Excellent Timing showed enough in his first two starts to attract suitors accustomed to digging into their wallets to make a private purchase. The New York-bred son of Not This Time also showed enough in those runs to earn a trip south to join trainer Chad Brown’s A-string to prep for his 3-year-old debut.

That came Sunday in the $100,000 Damon Runyon at Aqueduct and Excellent Timing proved both of those moves were correct with a x-length victory over Perfect Munnings in his stakes debut. He won making his first start for Brown and owners Michael Dubb, Sol Kumin’s Madaket Stables and Marc and Joe Lore’s Wonder Stable, who purchased the colt privately following his Dec. 10 maiden win.

Excellent Timing won off a three-month freshening and sporting a work tab of eight breezes at Payson Park and a tightener a week ago on the Belmont Park training track.

“The horse ran huge,” said Dan Stupp, Brown’s New York-based assistant. “The team down at Payson did a good job preparing him this winter. He came up in great shape; he put on some weight and his coat looks great.”

Excellent Timing did so well in Florida, particularly early in his stay in January, that his connections considered taking on open company for his 2021 debut.

“We had open company on our mind, but this time of year, everyone throws 3-year-olds to the wolves,” Dubb said. “This horse could have a nice and long career, so we wanted to develop the horse the right way and not get him where he loses interest. We want to get him used to winning. Hopefully, once we do that, we can go to open company. It’s the right thing to do with the horse.”

Co-bred by Sequel Stallions New York and Lakland Farm, Excellent Timing romps in the Damon Runyon. Chelsea Durand/NYRA Photo.

Excellent Timing flashed the same speed he displayed in his first two starts for owner Happy Face Racing Stable and trainer Charlton Baker in the 7-furlong Damon Runyon. He and Manny Franco took the lead from the start, clicking off early splits of :24.49 and :49.19 on a windy and blustery day at Aqueduct and just ahead of It’s Gravy and The King Cheek.

Excellent Timing, the 3-5 favorite in the field of eight, led turning into the stretch while 3-1 second choice Perfect Munnings tipped off the rail and passed It’s Gravy to make a run. Excellent Timing spurted away in the lane, opened up by 6 ½ lengths past 6 furlongs in 1:14.64.

Franco wrapped up inside the final sixteenth and Excellent Timing finished well clear. Perfect Munnings held second, 5 lengths in front of It’s Gravy with It’s a Gamble fourth. Excellent Timing won in 1:28.02.

“The plan was to go to the front. I just let him break out of there and get comfortable,” Franco said. “He took me to the lead and did the rest. He’s getting better. Chad had him for the first time today and did a really good job with him and I think he’ll keep improving. He can go a little further, a mile maybe.”

Bred by Sequel Stallions New York LLC and Lakland Farm and foaled at Sequel New York in Hudson, Excellent Timing is the second foal out of the Pioneerof the Nile mare Explicable. Explicable produced her first foal, a colt by Honor Code, in 2017. She’s also the dam of a 2-year-old filly by Union Jackson and a yearling filly by Unified, both co-bred by Sequel and Lakland, and was bred in 2020 to Maximus Mischief.

Explicable, a $120,000 yearling and half sister to Grade 3 winner Inexplicable and stakes-placed Goldenbaum and Cape Hatteras, raced for Hank Nothhaft’s HnR Nothhaft Horse Racing. She was offered in foal to Honor Code at the 2016 Keeneland November breeding stock sale but did not sell on a $135,000 bid. Sequel New York bought her the next year at the same sale, carrying Excellent Timing in utero, for $45,000.

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