Monday, October 31, 2022

Gun Runner, the nation’s runaway leading Second-Crop sire, has arguably the strongest contingent of any sire in this year’s Breeders’ Cup, with seven entries across five different races over the Friday and Saturday cards at Keeneland.

Gun Runner’s lone entry on Friday is Grand Love in the Juvenile Fillies (G1), who drew post 9 in the 12-horse Juvenile Fillies (G1). A very sharp maiden winner on Aug. 21 for Three Chimneys Farm and trainer Steve Asmussen, Grand Love was third in the Pocahontas S. (G3) in her stakes debut.

Gun Runner has plenty of proven commodities on Saturday’s card, starting with the duo of Echo Zulu and Wicked Halo in the Filly & Mare Sprint (G1). Echo Zulu was last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner and 2-year-old Filly Eclipse Award winner. Echo Zulu, dominant winner of the Dogwood S. (G3) in her most recent start, drew the outside post in the field of 13.  Wicked Halo, winner of four straight, most recently in the Oct. 22 Raven Run S. (G2) at Keeneland, will break from post 11 in Saturday’s third race.

Race 5, the $1 million Dirt Mile (G1), will feature Gun Runner’s 3-year-old duo of Cyberknife and Gunite. Cyberknife, winner of this year’s Haskell Inv. (G1) and Arkansas Derby (G1), drew post nine with jockey Florent Geroux. Gunite, who comes into the race with a gaudy 106 Beyer Speed Figure from his win in Keeneland’s Perryville S. on Oct. 22, drew post five and regular rider Tyler Gaffalione.

Society goes postward in Saturday’s $2 million Distaff (G1), considered by many the most competitive race on the card. The 3-year-old filly, who will be facing elders for the first time, has won five of six lifetime starts, most recently the Cotillion S. (G1) by a half-dozen lengths. She’ll break from the outside post in the field of eight with Geroux.

The day wraps up with Gun Runner’s 3-year-old colt Taiba taking on the best in the $6 million Classic, race 11 at 5:40 p.m. Taiba drew post 1 in the eight-horse field going 10 furlongs. Taiba is a two-time Grade 1 winner of the Santa Anita and Pennsylvania Derbies this year, and was just a head behind Cyberknife in the Haskell.

Gun Runner leads the Second-Crop list with over $12.1 million in progeny earnings to date, almost double his nearest pursuer.