Race of the Week 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

This is why I like Last Gunfighter so much


What can I say, I love Thoroughbred horse racing. And the primary reason I love this sport so much, is the greatest athletes in the world that are more than willing to give us their all one race after another. One such horse is Last Gunfighter, and here are half a dozen reasons why I've become so fond of him.

1. He’s prolific - When Last Gunfighter crossed the finish line first in yesterday’s Hawthorne Gold Cup, not only did it mark his eighth win in his last eleven starts, but it was also his fifth stakes victory of the year. By way of comparison, Horse of the Year candidates, Wise Dan and Will Take Charge have six and five this year, respectively. 

2. Consistency is the thing - Win or lose, the Chad Brown charge seems to always run his race. Since starting for the first time in graded stakes racing seven starts ago, Last Gunfighter has strung together Beyer speed figures of 100-100-103-102-99-105-100. In the money in 13-of-15 career races, the new millionaire has never once failed to cash a check. What more can an owner ask?

3. Weight and pace make little difference - In winning yesterday, he gave his closest competition at least five pounds, just as he had done in his previous stakes win. He also overcame slow early fractions to rally for the win. When it looked like Mister Marti Gras might have him measured at the sixteenth pole, Last Gunfighter simply kicked it into another gear and was only going to widen his advantage if they went any farther. Winning rider, Joe Bravo remarked that it took everything he had to pull him up after the 1 ¼ mile race was over.

4. Distance does not seem to matter much to Last Gunfighter - In 2012, he finished his sophomore season with three straight wins at a flat mile, including his initial stakes win. Now, after closing well in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in his previous start, and the way he finished things off in yesterday’s win, the son of First Samurai gives every indication of being equally adept at the classic ten furlong distance.

5. Have saddle will travel, could be his motto - In each of his four graded stakes wins this year, the John D. Gunther homebred won at different racetracks: Aqueduct, Pimlico, Monmouth, and Hawthorne. Throw in solid efforts in Belmont’s Suburban, and Santa Anita’s BC Classic, and it’s clear that he doesn’t mind travel, nor does he need his favorite track to run his race. 

6. And last but not least, Last Gunfighter is not afraid to win - Not only has he won more than half of his lifetime starts (8-of-15), but he strung together six straight wins beginning with his first start after transferring from the Helen Pitts barn to Chad Brown, last October, through May’s Pimlico Special. He has lost a few since, as he stepped up into racing’s elite, but even after a tough one, he has proven more than willing to come back and win the next one, as evidenced by his Iselin and Hawthorne Gold Cup victories. 


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Older Comments about This is why I like Last Gunfighter so much...

You're welcome.
Thanks Goblin. I thought there was a connection.
He's a Galloping Grinder
LAZ, She's married to Greg Blasi; he is Scott Blasi's brother.
Cause. Isn't Helen Pitts married to Asmussen's assistant trainer?
Nice article, Brian. And to think Helen Pitts had something to do with this horse!!!! She had(and lost) Curlin, and also Einstein.
Until he wins a grade one, he is just one of many grade two or grade three types.
Very solid and consistent stakes runner. Hopefully next year is his break out year in the G1 events. Some pretty good older horses running next year.
I foresee a grade 1 win in his future. Its hard not to like a horse that displays all of the characteristics you have pointed out, Brian.
You have to love a horse like the Gunfighter!

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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