Gun Runner sets up possible Dubai World Cup tilt with easy win
Report: USA, Monday
Oaklawn Park: Razorback Handicap (Grade 3) | 1m½f | dirt | 4yo+
Gun Runner (Steve Asmussen/Florent Geroux) put himself in line for a possible tilt at the Dubai World Cup as he made all for a runaway success in the lavishly endowed Razorback.
Sent off 1-5 as he gave weight away all round to inferior rivals, the son of Candy Ride kicked off his four-year-old campaign in flawless fashion, cruising home to score by five and three-quarter lengths from Hawaakom to claim this $500,000 contest.
"Last year we learned to let Gun Runner just be Gun Runner and the success has come to him," said winning trainer Asmussen. "He's a fast horse. We're very happy to get this race done. We've always been confident that this horse would get better with time."
Last year Gun Runner showed up well in a number of major races – third in the Kentucky Derby, second in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile – before finally securing his Grade 1 in the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs.
Asmussen added: "I'm very thankful to Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys for the opportunity to race this horse again this year. With his pedigree and his Grade 1 win last year, it's very sporting of them to give us another year."
Jockey Florent Geroux said: "This horse just gets better and better. He was in every fight last year and he feels even better this year. I'm hoping the sky's the limit for him."
Looking ahead, owner Ron Winchell said: "We'll make a decision as far as Dubai probably in the next few weeks, see how he comes back. We'll see who else is on that airplane."
Also on Monday
Oaklawn Park: Southwest Stakes (Grade 3) | 1m½f | dirt | 3yo
Unbeaten One Liner (Todd Pletcher/John Velazquez) entered the Kentucky Derby reckoning with an emphatic three-and-a-half length victory in this $500,000 event, in which hot favourite Uncontested faded to sixth.