Gun Runner dominates again, takes Woodward S. (G1) by 10 lengths
Sunday, September 3, 2017
Gun Runner continued on his march towards the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) with another dazzling display in Saturday's $750,000 Woodward S. (G1) at Saratoga, drawing away at will in the stretch to an official margin of 10 1/4-lengths under the watchful eye of co-owners Ron Winchell and Three Chimney's Goncalvo Torrealba.

The 1 1/8-mile Woodward unfolded similarly to his win in the Whitney (G1) over the same surface Aug. 5, though Florent Geroux waiting longer to take the lead on Saturday. Gun Runner, along with three others, broke in a line before Neolithic forged to the lead going into the first turn. Gun Runner sat a couple lengths behind the leader, who carved out a half-mile in :46.56.

Geroux inched closer around the final turn, and easily took over at the top of the stretch, then pulled away with complete authority, finishing the distance in 1:47.43 on a fast main track. The time was less than a second off the track record, while is Beyer Speed Figure of 115 was a career-best and his fifth straight of at least 110.

"This was our last race heading into the Breeders' Cup, and I thought it went as well as we could have hoped,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “If we can get out to California in good shape we'll hope to finish off the year. He increased his margin to the wire and proved his worth. The game plan was to leave him in Florent's hands. We worked him off many a horse in the mornings, knowing that he's very comfortable in that position, but with Todd (Pletcher, trainer of Neolithic, who wound up third, and runner-up Rally Cry) having two talented horses in there, you did expect him to send one. It was expected and Gun Runner handled it like he's supposed to, and with his experience at this level proved dominant." 

With the only blemish on his record this year a second-place finish in the Dubai World Cup (G1), Gun Runner figures to be one of the favorites in the Nov. 4 Classic, which will be run at Del Mar this year. Gun Runner ran second in last year's Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1) prior to beating older horses in the Clark H. (G1). His record now stands at 10-3-2 in 17 starts, with earnings of $5,738,500.
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