Thursday, August 31, 2017
2017 Razorback Handicap winner Gun Runner, the #1 ranked horse in the country, is the heavy favorite for Saturday’s Woodward Stake at Saratoga; Multiple stakes winner Ivan Fallunovalot, an Oaklawn fan favorite, is scheduled to make his return to the races this Saturday in an allowance race Remington Park.
#1 Ranked Gun Runner Heavy Favorite for Saturday’s $750,000 Woodward Stakes
Gun Runner’s first start as the world’s top-ranked horse comes in the $750,000 Woodward Stakes (G1) Saturday at Saratoga.
Under the care of Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, Gun Runner has won 3 of 4 starts this year, including the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) Feb. 20 at Oaklawn in his 2017 debut. On the heels of a powerful victory in the $1.2 million Whitney Stakes (G1) Aug. 5 at Saratoga, Gun Runner moved to No. 1 in the Longines “World’s Best Racehorse Rankings.”
Only four horses are scheduled to challenge Gun Runner in the 1 1/8-mile Woodward – Neolithic, Rally Cry, War Story and Discreet Lover. Gun Runner is the 2-5 program favorite. Co-owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm, he is scheduled to break from post 2 under regular rider Florent Geroux and carry top weight of 124 pounds.
Probable post time for the Woodward, the 11th of 12 races, is 5:46 p.m. (Central).
Cigar, Lawyer Ron, Curlin, Rachel Alexandra and Havre de Grace are among the Oaklawn stakes winners to also capture the Woodward.
Cigar (1995 Oaklawn Handicap), Curlin (2007 Rebel and Arkansas Derby) and Rachel Alexandra (2009 Martha Washington and Fantasy) are all members of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.
Asmussen, who trained Curlin and Rachel Alexandra, was a 2016 Hall of Fame inductee.
Ivan the Great
Multiple Oaklawn stakes-winning sprinter Ivan Fallunovalot is scheduled to return to action in Saturday’s seventh race at Remington Park for trainer Tom Howard of Hot Springs and owner Lewis Mathews of Bismarck, Ark.
The 6-furlong allowance race will mark the gelding’s first start since finishing second in the $125,000 Hot Springs Stakes March 11 at Oaklawn. He was pointing for the $400,000 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 15 at Oaklawn before being shelved with an ankle problem.
Ivan Fallunovalot won Oaklawn’s $100,000 King Cotton Stakes in 2015 and 2016 and finished fourth in the event Feb. 4, which marked his 7-year-old debut.
The 6-5 program favorite, is scheduled to break from post 6 under Luis Quinonez, Oaklawn’s leading rider in 2007, and carry 120 pounds. He returned from a similar layoff last year (foot injury) to win an allowance race at Remington Park.
A $25,000 claim at the 2014 Oaklawn meeting, Ivan Fallunovalot has amassed $832,058 in career earnings off a 15-4-1 record from 26 starts. Mathews said he wants the gelding to reach $1 million in career earnings before being retired to the owner’s farm in Bismarck.
Also entered in Saturday’s race is Apprehender, winner of the 2013 and 2014 King Cotton and third this year. Apprehender also finished second in this year’s Count Fleet.
Probable post time for Saturday’s seventh race at Remington Park is 9:48 p.m. (Central).
Oaklawn-raced Power of Snunner is entered in the $100,000 Dr. Teresa Garofalo Memorial Stakes Saturday at Parx. … Northern Trail, runner-up in the $75,000 Ellis Park Juvenile Aug. 20, is entered in the $350,000 Fasig-Tipton Turf Showcase Juvenile Stakes Saturday at Kentucky Downs for owner Jerry Caroom of Hot Springs and Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg. Northern Trail, a 2-year-old son of Northern Afleet, is 4-1 on the morning line for the 7-furlong race. He was 81-1 in the Ellis Park Juvenile. … Three of the four winningest trainers in the country this year had divisions in 2017 at Oaklawn. Karl Broberg (375) is first, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization. Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen (357) and Robertino Diodoro (245) are second and fourth, respectively. Asmussen and Diodoro were 1-2, respectively, this year at Oaklawn. Asmussen has led the Oaklawn standings eight times since 2007.