Saturday, August 07, 2021

Leading First-Crop sire Gun Runner got his first stakes winner in a big way Saturday at Del Mar when Pappacap won the $200,000 Best Pal S. (G2) by nearly five lengths.

Owned and bred by Rustlewood Farm, the 2-year-old colt has won both his starts by a combined 7 1/2-lengths and earned $158,000. The victory puts his atop the juvenile colt division on the west coast, with the Del Mar Futurity (G1, in one month) as the next logical spot on the road to the Breeders’ Cup, which is also at Del Mar, in early November.

Pappacap, under Joe Bravo, took up a good spot just behind the dueling pair of Bet On Mookie and Thirsty Always, who made their way down the backstretch in :22.11. Forced to go very wide into the stretch, Pappacap blew past the top duo and quickly opened up. He kicked well clear in the final furlong to win officially by 4 3/4-lengths in 1:11.66 for the six furlongs on a fast track.

The winner hails from Pappascat, who placed in the Cardinal H. (G3) on the lawn at Churchill Downs.

Gun Runner has accounted for nine winners to date, while his progeny earnings are nearing $600,000. His stakes-placed filly Wicked Halo is entered in Sunday’s Adirondack S. (G2) at Saratoga.