Gun Runner stellar in Matt Winn S. (G3) romp
Sunday, June 19, 2016

Gun Runner stellar in Matt Winn S. (G3) romp
Gun Runner returned to Churchill Downs for first start since his gritty third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (G1), and responded with a blowout, near track-record performance in the $100,000 Matt Winn S. (G3) on Saturday evening.

The chestnut colt, owned by the triumvirate of Winchell Thoroughbreds, Three Chimneys Farm and Besilu Stables, stopped the clock  for the 1 1/16 miles at 1:41.12, breaking the stakes record and just missing the Successful Dan’s track record for the distance by .08 seconds. 

The race was in little doubt from the outset as the 1-9 favorite controlled things from the start, going up by two lengths after a quarter mile in :23.99. Gray Sky got win about a half-length after six-furlongs, but Florent Geroux gave Gun Runner a nudge and the colt quickly sprinted away for a clear run down the lane.

“Visually, looking at him I think that the horse has matured,” trainer Steve Asmussen commented. “He’s stronger than he was. He was beautiful in the gates and went away smoothly. I thought he handled nicely and he’s got beautiful speed. His confidence should be exactly where we’re hoping for going into an extremely competitive Haskell (G1, $1,000,000, at Monmouth Park on July 31) it looks like. I do think that he is of the highest quality and this is only his seventh lifetime race. He is faster now than he has ever been and that’s a great thing.” 

Prior to his gallant Derby effort, Gun Runner notched wins in the Louisiana Derby (G2) and Risen Star S. (G2), both at Fair Grounds. His overall mark stands at 5-0-1 in seven starts, with earnings of $1,168,300.
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