Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Gun Runner Works Toward Breeders’ Cup Classic
Gun Runner moved closer to a scheduled start in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) with a workout in company over a fast surface Monday morning at Santa Anita. Gun Runner, romping winner of the $500,000 Razorback Handicap (G3) Feb. 20 at Oaklawn, was credited with 5 furlongs in 1:00.40, second-fastest of 41 works recorded at the distance. Gun Runner galloped out 6 furlongs in 1:12.80 under regular rider Florent Geroux.
Gun Runner worked with stablemate Gettysburg, who finished fifth in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) in 2016. Gettysburg was credited with 5 furlongs in 1:01. Both Gun Runner and Gettysburg and trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, who has led the standings eight times at Oaklawn since 2007.
Gun Runner is scheduled to work again Monday at Santa Anita before shipping to Del Mar to finalize preparations for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) Nov. 4. The 4-year-old Candy Ride colt has won his last three races, all Grade 1 events.
Wild Again finished eighth in the 1984 Razorback Handicap before winning the inaugural Breeders’ Cup Classic later that year at Hollywood Park under Pat Day, a 12-time leading rider at Oaklawn (1983-1994). Day was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1991. Asmussen was a 2016 inductee.
Still # 1
Gun Runner remained No. 1 in the weekly National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Top Thoroughbred Poll for horses of all ages released Monday.
Gun Runner began his 4-year-old campaign with an easy victory in the Razorback at Oaklawn and has won his last three races, all Grade 1 events.
Three other Oaklawn-raced horses remain in the NTRA Top 10. Collected is No. 3, Stellar Wind is No. 5 and Mor Spirit is No. 8.
Collected finished fourth as the favorite in the $500,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds last year at Oaklawn. Stellar Wind won Oaklawn’s biggest race for older fillies and mares, the $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) April 14. Mor Spirit won the $250,000 Essex Handicap for older horses March 18 at Oaklawn.
Gun Runner, Collected, Stellar Wind and Mor Spirit are pointing for Breeders’ Cup races Nov. 3-4 at Del Mar.
Gun Runner and Collected are ticketed for the $6 million Classic (G1) Nov. 4. Stellar Wind and Mor Spirit are scheduled to run in the $2 million Distaff (G1) and $1 million Dirt Mile (G1), respectively, Nov. 3.
Other Oaklawn-raced horses scheduled to compete in this year’s Breeders’ Cup include Hot Springs Stakes and Count Fleet Sprint Handicap winner Whitmore (Sprint); Honeybee Stakes winner It Tiz Well (Distaff) and Honeybee third-place finisher Elate (Distaff).
Tap of War, in her first start since April 7, finished third in an allowance sprint Friday at Keeneland. Tap of War ran ninth in the $200,000 Honeybee Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies March 11 at Oaklawn. Perfect Wife, 10th in the Honeybee, ran third in allowance/optional claiming sprint Saturday at Keeneland. Tap of War, Perfect Wife and fourth-place finisher Tapa Tapa Tapa are the only Honeybee starters that haven’t returned to win a race. Seven of the 11 starters have captured at least one stakes race, including Grade 1 winners It Tiz Well and Elate, first and third, respectively, in the Honeybee. … Trust, a 2-year-old daughter of 2012 Arkansas Derby winner Bodemeister, broke her maiden Friday at Keeneland for perennial Oaklawn champions Ricardo Santana Jr. (jockey) and Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen (trainer). Trust, a $400,000 yearling purchase, covered 6 ½ furlongs over a fast track in 1:16.62 in a three-quarter length victory. She paid $9.80. Trust is owned by Alex and JoAnn Lieblong of Conway, Ark. Alex Lieblong is chairman of the Arkansas Racing Commission. … Asmussen, an eight-time training champion at Oaklawn, sent out Laudation ($7.80) to win the $50,000 E.L. Gaylord Memorial Stakes for 2-year-old fillies Friday at Remington Park. … Santana, Oaklawn’s leading rider the last five years, had a triple Saturday at Keeneland and a double Sunday at Keeneland to reach 900 victories in his North American career, according to Equibase, racing’s official data gathering organization.