Gun Runner takes top prize in Clark H. (G1)
Saturday, November 26, 2016

Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm's Gun Runner turned in the best rest of his career Friday at Churchill Downs with a front-running, three-length victory in the $500,000 Clark H. (G1).

The victory marked the first Grade 1 win for the 3-year-old colt, whose previous graded stakes wins came in the Louisiana Derby (G2), Risen Star S. (G2), and Matt Winn S. (G3), all this year as well.

Gun Runner got away cleanly from the rail under Florent Geroux, making the lead early, while Noble Bird, who was expected to contest the pace, got away poorly. Gun Runner and Geroux set all the pace, going evenly through a half-mile in 48 seconds flat and three-quarters in 1:11.89.

Coming into the stretch, longshot Breaking Lucky made a run at the leader, but Gun Runner shook him off and came home a clear winner in 1:48.50.

“I’m so proud of him,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “Walking him over, the horse has such confidence about him. He’s kept his strength and his weight with the thousands of miles he’s traveled this year on the stages that he’s been on.

“He deserved it. With all the Grade One winners he has beaten and for this to be his first Grade One, I feel very confident it will not be his last.”

“I was pretty confident up front,” added Geroux. “He was always a good horse when he’s forwardly placed and when Noble Bird wasn’t there, I just took it from there and just let my horse do his thing and let him be comfortable and turning for home he showed me a super kick.” 

Gun Runner, a son of Candy Ride (ARG) out of the Grade 2 winner Quiet Giant, is now 6-2-2 in 12 starts with earnings of $2,037,800.

 

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