With two weeks until he faces the world’s top-ranked horse, Juddmonte Farms’ Bob Baffert-trained champion Arrogate, Gun Runner maintained his mantle as the pride of the Fair Grounds on Saturday morning, whistling through a sharp six-furlong work in 1:12 flat at the New Orleans oval for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen and owners Three Chimneys Farm and Winchell Thoroughbreds. The work was his final serious move before shipping to Dubai for the Group I $10,000,000 Dubai World Cup.
Asmussen was very pleased with the move, remarking that the horse, who ships Sunday morning for the United Arab Emirates “went great.”
Gun Runner served notice that he will be a force to reckon with in 2017 with a dominating performance on Feb. 20 in Oaklawn Park’s Grade III Razorback Handicap in what was his 4-year-old bow. Winning by 5¾ lengths that day under regular rider Florent Geroux, the son of Candy Ride (Arg) won for the seventh time in 13 lifetime starts and second time in a row following his open-length victory in the Grade I Clark Handicap on Nov. 25.
The reliable Kentucky-bred has never failed to hit the board on a fast dirt track, with his only two off-the-board finishes being over wet surfaces in the Grade I Haskell Invitational last July and the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club as a juvenile. Additionally, the 2016 Grade II Louisiana Derby winner is the only horse to run and place in both the Grade I Kentucky Derby and Grade I Travers Stakes, which are both at the same 1 1/4-miles distance of the Dubai World Cup.
Gun Runner, who has earned more than $2.3 million, is expected to have a maintenance work over the Meydan surface about a week prior to his run in the global showcase.
Source: Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots