Saturday, May 04, 2024

Gun Pilot’s stirring victory in the $1 million Churchill Downs S. (G1) made him Gun Runner’s second Grade 1 winner of the day, coming just a couple of hours after Vahva triumphed in the $1 million Derby City Distaff (G1).

A few hours afterwards, Gun Runner’s 3-year-old colt Sierra Leone was nosed out of victory in the Kentucky Derby (G1) in what was one of the closest finishes in the history of the race. Gun Runner’s Il Miracolo also placed in Churchill’s Alysheba S. (G2) on Friday. With a weekend of terrific results, Gun Runner is third in the General Sire list with nearly $8 million in progeny earnings.

Gun Pilot got an ideal trip from the outset of the seven-furlong race. The 4-year-old sat off a hot pace of :22.56, about four lengths from the front. He crept closer on the turn and was just two lengths from the lead turning for home. He collared Zosos and Here Mi Song in midstretch and powered past them to win going away in 1:21.95 on a fast track.

“This is so special. It is very special for Mr. (Goncalo) Torrealba (of Three Chimneys Farm),” said winning trainer Steve Asmussen. “This is a special horse. I really believe in him. (Jockey) Cristian (Torres) believes in him too. Seven-eighths is a good distance for him. We wanted to make it simple for him today. Nothing special in the way of tactics. Get him out in the middle of the track and then let him do his close. It worked out perfectly.”

Gun Pilot is owned and bred by Three Chimneys. With his first Grade 1 win, Gun Pilot is 5-3-0 in 11 starts and has earned $975,575. He is the first foal out of Bush Pilot, who is an unraced sister to multiple graded winner Global View and stakes winner Fusaichi Samurai.