Gun Runner to return to training after 2017 Breeders’ Cup win

Gun Runner to return to training after 2017 Breeders’ Cup win
Photo: Mary Cage

Heading into the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic, Gun Runner was termed “50-50” to race again, with the chance higher should he win the $6 million race at Del Mar.

Next, the 4-year-old Candy Ride colt will travel to Three Chimneys Farm in Versailles, Ky., to be available for inspection by potential breeders. Trainer Steve Asmussen called it the "look at me stage of this," with that time doubling as Gun Runners's break between races. Afterward, he will return to training with Asmussen’s string at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

"We'll go from there," Asmussen said.

Gun Runner is campaigned by Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys. The Jan. 27
Pegasus World Cup is his expected next — and final — target race. Offering a $16 million purse, it’s rich enough to keep a Horse of the Year candidate in training and early enough on the calendar to let him go to stud in 2018.

“What’s next is celebrating every day from now until the day they give him the Horse of the Year trophy," Asmussen said. "The horse deserves it. We put this pressure on him for this day, and he came through for us. I can’t tell you the level of appreciation I have for him, because very few horses accept the amount of pressure that was applied to him.”

Gun Runner has won 11 of his 18 lifetime starts, with his current streak of four straight Grade 1 victories the best stretch of his career. In the Pegasus he could meet Forever Unbridled, the Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner, while this month’s Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs and Cigar Mile at Aqueduct could also serve as a prep to the Gulfstream Park feature.

Arrogate won the inaugural Pegasus, topping California Chrome in this year’s race.


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