Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap winner Gun Runner breezed a half-mile in 49.33 seconds Sunday morning at Saratoga Race Course, wrapping up his major preparations for next Saturday's Grade 1 Whitney, a “Win and You're In” for the Breeders' Cup Classic this fall at Del Mar.
Hitting the Oklahoma training track at 6 a.m., the 4-year-old chestnut colt by Candy Ride worked four furlongs, covering the first eighth of a mile in 12 4/5 seconds and the quarter in 25 1/5, according to NYRA clockers. He galloped out five furlongs in1:03 1/5.
— DJFiske (@DJFiske) July 30, 2017
“I thought he worked good; he always works well,” said Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. “He's a nice horse and [it was] more of the same. He's a very generous workhorse. The weather's been ideal, I think we've been lucky with it so far. Obviously, there's a pretty good chance of rain for the Whitney but that's out of our hands. We'll see how he handles everything.”
Gun Runner is exiting a seven-length victory in the Foster on June 17 at Churchill Downs, his first race back since finishing second to Arrogate in the Group 1 Dubai World Cup in March.
Winner of the Grade 2 Risen Star and Louisiana Derby on the 2016 Triple Crown trail, he finished third in the Kentucky Derby that May and ultimately closed out his sophomore campaign with his first Grade 1 victory in the Clark Handicap last fall following a runner-up finish in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. Gun Runner kicked off his year with a front running 5 ¾-length score in the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn in February.
One of five stakes on tap for August 5, including the Grade 1, $500,000 Test for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs, the Whitney is also expected to attract Keen Ice, the recent three-length winner of the Grade 2 Suburban on July 8 at Belmont Park; Breaking Lucky, third in the Foster last time out; and a Loooch Racing Stables-owned pair in Cautious Giant, last-out winner of a six-furlong optional claimer at Thistledown, and Grade 2 Brooklyn winner War Story.
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