It's official! Gun Runner to target 2018 Pegasus before retired

By Jonathan Lintner

Gun Runner, the recent Breeders’ Cup Classic winner and impending Horse of the Year, will indeed make one more start before heading to stud.

Co-owners Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm announced Tuesday the 4-year-old colt is officially pointing to the Jan. 27 Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park.

"I have been fortunate enough to own several great horses, but Gun Runner is clearly at the top of my list," said co-owner Ron Winchell. "He is the horse of a lifetime. His brilliance was recognizable early and improved with every season. His consistency, soundness and race recovery were comparable to none. These traits should serve him well as a stallion. I am a believer and will be supporting him 100%."

The Pegasus, which will be run for the second time in 2018, features a $16 million purse, making it the world’s richest race. Distaff winner Forever Unbridled, as well as Classic runner-up Collected and third-place finisher West Coast are also expected to contend.

Gun Runner has won four straight Grade 1 races since caught in the stretch and defeated in the 2017 Dubai World Cup. Arrogate won that race as well as the inaugural Pegasus.

From there, the rivals’ careers went in opposite directions, with Gun Runner hitting his peak in the Classic as Arrogate finished in a dead heat for fifth. The victory all but locked up Eclipse Awards for Gun Runner, who’s trained by Steve Asmussen. The son of Candy Ride sports a record of 11-3-2 in 18 starts with earnings of $8.9 million.

Since his Classic win at Del Mar, Gun Runner has shipped to Three Chimneys in Lexington, Ky., for rest between starts. The downtime is doubling as an opportunity for would-be breeders to inspect him as the Fasig-Tipton and Keeneland sales get underway. Running the Pegasus won’t preclude Gun Runner from going to the breeding shed next year as well.

"I have been associated with many great horses in my life, but Gun Runner is the best racehorse I have ever been around," said Three Chimneys board member Doug Cauthen. "As a stallion prospect he brings impeccable credentials, with a super physical, a royal pedigree and admirable speed and toughness – he deserves his fan base. He’s the kind of horse people dream about, and it’s a tribute to the Torrealba family’s commitment to the US that they were able to add such a specimen to their racing stable and stallion roster so quickly in their tenure."


Exact purse distribution in the Pegasus has yet to be announced, though it’s unlikely the winning share will be enough to pass Arrogate’s $17.4 million on the all-time earnings list. California Chrome — another Dubai World Cup winner — is second all-time with $14.7 million banked.

 

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