West Virginia Hangs On in Damon Runyon

Favored West Virginia took the lead after a half-mile, then held of the stubborn Salty Character by a neck to win Wednesday's $83,675 Damon Runyon for 2-year-old New York breds at 1 1/16 mile on Aqueduct's sloppy inner track.

The race was originally scheduled for Sunday but postponed because of a snowstorm.

Salty Character and jockey Shaun Bridgmohan set the early pace, getting the first quarter mile in :23 2/5 and the half in :48 1/5. But West Virginia quickly pulled jockey Richard Migliore to the lead on a mostly foggy day at the track.

Salty Character, however, refused to yield and the battle was joined through the lane. Migliore worked hard on his mount, switching sticks and pumping furiously. Salty Character was just that, but never could get by the even-money choice in a field of nine, West Virginia, who stopped the timer at 1:47 4/5 for his third victory in five career starts.

The son of Tomorrows Cat paid $4, $2.90 and $2.70. Salty Character returned $6.80 and $5.10. Delta Ghost, six lengths back in third, showed for $5.30.

(Chart, Equibase)