Gun Runner: Qualities a Horse Needs for a Long, Successful Racing Career

Some racehorses peak early and shine right from the start. Others mature slowly over several years and take time to reach their peak shape.

But a rare horse that combines early maturity with steady growth over multiple seasons, the recipe for a truly unforgettable racehorse. . The gun runner’s early success was just a performance appetizer that defined a career to unleash as an older runner.

Raised at Besilu Stables in Kentucky, Gun Runner was born on March 8, 2013 at WinStar Farm. Gunn his runner was his two-year-old private at his sale, the chestnut foal was transferred to Winchell his thoroughbreds and threes his chimneys to his farm partnership and Hall of Fame trainer Steve his Asmussen was in charge of pre-debut conditioning work.

It’s difficult to predict whether a particular newborn foal will grow up to become a notable racing success, but the Gunrunner has always had a pedigree that makes him something special. Father Candy Ryde has the speed and stamina of an elite miler to shine through classic distances. Undefeated with six starts, Candy Ride was the Grade 1 Pacific His Classic held at Dell’s Marr in 2003, where he clocked 1 1/4 miles with an actual time of 1:59.11, the most. We won a crushing victory.

The gun runner’s mother, Quiet Giant, is also a proficient runner, with Grade 2 in the 2011 Molly Pitcher Stakes being one of her five career stakes wins. As the daughter of three-time leading stallion Giant’s Causeway (and she’s also the half-sister of 2005 Horse of the Year and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Centrium), The Quiet Giant is arguably Candy Ride. balanced with brilliance and steady stamina. Gun runners have an excellent pedigree at the highest levels of the sport.

Speed… stamina… and determination. These were some of the key traits that made Gun Runner great, and he exhibited them all from an early age. In fact, Gunn needed all three to make his runner-up debut in his one-mile inaugural race held at Churchill Downs on September 11, 2015. He wins by three quarters of a length.

In the following months, Gunrunner rose rapidly. His 4th-place finish on a sloppy track in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club S proved to be his only setback, and under the guidance of jockey Florent Geroux, Gun Runner raced to Grade 2 veteran Nsford Risen. Recorded winter wins with Star S and Grade 2. 2 Brands Louisiana Derby emerged as a threat to his legitimate 2016 Kentucky Derby win.

But when the first Saturday of May rolled around, Gun Runner was still a work in progress. He performed well in his Derby against Kentucky, where he finished third against Deepfield, but was unprepared for the big leagues. Following his post-Derby win in the Grade 3 Mattwin Stakes, Gunrunner took his fourth straight loss against elite competition and finished runner-up in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby and Grade 1 Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. Earned.

But even during the losing streak, Gun Runner was demonstrating another valuable trait: durability. Despite eight runs between February and November, the tough-as-nails Colt was no less wear-and-tear, on the contrary, he seemed to be on track and on track despite his busy schedule. Just three weeks after him in the Breeders’ Cup his officials came to target Grade 1 Clark for his handicap.

“He’s traveled thousands of miles on the stages he’s been on this year and has maintained his strength and weight. blood horse December 3, 2016.

Clark was a turning point for Gunrunner. Gunrunner and Florent Geroux abandoned the conservative rating tactics they adopted this fall to take on a deep field of older rivals. Gunrunners sprinted to the front, trying to catch up with their pursuers. However, no one was able to answer the challenge and Gun Runner won by 2 3/4 lengths to secure their first Grade 1 victory.

“We discussed the fact that in the last two races we may have adapted too much to our opponents,” said Asmussen. blood horse“And let him run races today so that people can acclimate to him.”

In the coming months, for many of the world’s best racehorses, acclimating to gun runners will become a futile pursuit.

Simple stats showed Gun Runner winning 5 of their 6 starts in 2017, competing exclusively with Graded Stakes Company. But statistics can’t paint the whole picture. They fail to capture how Gunrunner started out strong, improved as the season progressed, and eventually developed into an uncatchable speed demon that performed on a different level than his rivals.

Racing fans received a harbinger of the future when the Gun Runner started 2017 with a flop in the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap by 5 and 3/4 lengths. There was absolutely no drama in the outcome, as Gun Runner never gave his rivals a chance to challenge him.After carving out a fast pace, he powered down the lane to win on a hand ride.

The Gunrunner’s only loss of the season came when they traveled around the world for the Group 1 Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates. After chasing an early pace, Gun Runner settled in his second place behind his four-time winner and reigning champion, his three-year-old Arrogate, in Grade 1 at the peak of his ability. But while Arrogate struggled to regain his best form after returning from Dubai, Gunrunner appeared to benefit from the transatlantic journey.

In fact, the Gunrunner never tastes defeat again. All summer long he displayed his talents in top-level competition, finishing Grade 1 in the Stephen Foster Handicap, Whitney Stakes and Woodward Stakes Presented by NYRA Bet with an average of 7 and his 1/2 length difference. won the victory. Nothing upset him. At Whitney, there wasn’t even the odd incident of a rival’s lost horseshoe tangling in the gunrunner’s tail and trailing behind him like a flag for most of the race.

“I think it was important that we took our time with this horse,” Asmussen said after the Gunrunner beat seven rivals on Stephen Foster. “We always thought he would get better with his age and he’s proving it now.”

By the time the 2017 Breeders’ Cup rolled around, the Gun Runner was the perfect package of speed, stamina, determination, and endurance. He could have aimed for another run in the breeders his cup his dirt his mile, but naturally his connections chose to aim higher. Gunrunners didn’t take the easy road and raced Allogate in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic, a 1.5-mile run on the same course that Candies Ride competed in the Pacific Classic 14 years ago. sought a rematch.

Bettors favored Arrogate’s victory, but the tide turned and Classic was all about Gun Runner. In a virtual copy of Clarke’s performance a year ago, Gunn his runner took the lead and set a steady pace, two and he won by a quarter of a length, with Arrogate settling for his fifth place. I was.

“How he took his race, how he got out of it, me and [assistant trainer Scott Blasi] I was amazed at how strong he was at school this week. ” Asmussen said at the post-race press conference. “This year has been a lot of travel and a lot of fast races, so I think he is better today than ever. It is a blessing.”

Not surprisingly, Gun Runner received accolades and awards, including the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year. The Classic may have been the gunrunner’s curtain call, but before his retirement, he had a Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup win. Contending for the winner’s share of his record-breaking $16.3 million prize money, Gunn his runner comfortably held off his 3-year-old male West Coast champion and scored by two and a half lengths. I mentioned

nineteenth race. Twelve wins. Half a dozen Grade 1 wins. Career purse income $15,988,500. Gunrunners are long remembered for their speed, stamina, determination and endurance, but also as pioneers in how horses improve as they mature and can enjoy hitherto impossible successes. will be remembered.

In a post-Breeders’ Cup Classic article published in the November 11, 2017 issue, Winchell Thoroughbred manager David Fisk said, “He has been sick and has physical problems. I don’t know if there is anything like that.” I was surprised. blood horse“As we all know, horses have body shape cycles and have ups and downs. Not this horse. He seems to be up all the time.”

If “up” is an abbreviation for “higher level than rivals”, we should agree.

fun facts

  • The Gunrunner retired with a record of 12 wins, three seconds and two-thirds from 19 starts. His two finishes outside of the top three were on sloppy tracks.
  • Florent Geroux has ridden the Gun Runner in 16 of 19 races, including all six wins in G1.
  • Gun Runner has won races on 7 different tracks in 6 states.
  • With earnings of $15,988,500, Gun Runner retired as the second richest racehorse in North American history.
  • Throughout his career, Gun Runner has had seven past or future Eclipse Award winners (Nyquist, West Coast, Arrogate, Accelerate, Stellar Wind, Runhappy, Whitmore) and three US Classics winners (Nyquist, Exe Gator, Creator).
  • Gun Runner planted the seeds for his partner, Three Chimneys Farm, and was an immediate success. His first foal, which began racing in 2021, has earned him over $4.2 million on the racetrack, easily becoming the top freshman stallion in North America. Also, the filly Echo Zur soon won the Breeders his Cup. Gunn his runner-up dominated his second sire roster in North America in 2022, leading the early vote with top three-year-old Taiba, Cyberknife and Preakness Stakes winner.

  • In December 2021, Fair Grounds will host the inaugural Gun Runner Stakes, a new preparatory race for the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve.

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