Gun Runner super once again in Grade 1 Whitney S.
Sunday, August 6, 2017
Gun Runner turned in another stellar performance in the $1.2 million Whitney S. (G1) Saturday at Saratoga, winning by 5 ¼-lengths for his third Grade 1 win and seventh graded stakes victory overall.

Owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm, the 4-year-old son of Candy Ride (ARG) has won $5,288,500 in his career.

Sent off the prohibitive 2-5 favorite, Gun Runner was three-wide around the first turn, just to the outside of the leader Cautious Giant. When the half-mile went in :48.31, Florent Geroux sent Gun Runner past Cautious Giant and quickly opened up a two-length lead. 

With no one posing a threat, Geroux was a passenger the rest of the way as Gun Runner widened his lead, ultimately stopping the timer in 1:47.71 for the 1 1/8-miles on the fast main track. His 112 Beyer Speed Figure was the best of his 16-race career.

Gun Runner won despite the nearly impossible happening in the middle of the race: Cautious Giant threw a shoe on the backstretch, and the flying missive wound up entangled in Gun Runner’s tail and wasn’t discovered until he came back to be unsaddled.

"(I only noticed it) once he slowed down," a mystified trainer Steve Asmussen said. "We watched the tape repeatedly, repeatedly, and if you've never seen anything before, just wait around. Can you believe that? I mean if we tried to throw one and stick in one's tail as he was standing, still we'd go 0-for-1,000—let alone at a run, let alone Gun Runner, let alone in the Whitney—and it stayed. (With) how fast he was going, it was held out from him, when he slowed down to walk, then it came into him. We were obviously unaware of it until he came back to the winner's circle, but not a nick on him. I mean, there's still nails in it."

Asmussen noted that Gun Runner’s next start could be the $750,000 Woodward S. (G1) on Saratoga's closing weekend. The winner also has an all-fees-paid berth into the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) Nov. 4 at Del Mar.

"It seems very probable with him running over the racetrack here (and) not having to travel again," Asmussen said. "It would be ideal."
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