‘Grown Into A Man’: Gun Runner A Model Of Consistency In Sunday Work At Churchill

Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimney Farm’s Gun Runner, the current early favorite for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade I) on Nov. 4 at Del Mar, put in his final workout at Churchill Downs on Sunday before shipping to California by recording a bullet five-furlong move in :59.80 with regular jockey Florent Geroux aboard.

Geroux started two lengths back of workmate Gettysburg (1:00.20) and worked in splits of :24.40 and :35.60 before finishing even at the wire and galloping out six furlongs in 1:13 and seven furlongs in 1:27.80, according to Churchill Downs’ clocker John Nichols.

“He felt great,” Geroux said. “He worked with a nice horse and did everything perfectly. He typically doesn’t do anything fancy in his works and today was no different. He did everything on his own and I just wanted to keep him happy. He’s really turned into a faster and stronger horse this year. I think back last year and he acted like a teenager and this year he’s grown into a man. When I’m on his back I feel like I don’t have to help him as much because he does everything so well on his own.”

Gun Runner, conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen, began his 2017 campaign with a front-running 5 ¾-length score in the Feb. 20 Razorback Handicap (GIII) at Oaklawn Park, which was used as a prep for his next start in the March 25, $10 million Dubai World Cup (GI) which resulted in a hard-fought runner-up finish to Arrogate. The duo is scheduled for a rematch in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“Forecasting in the horse business is like dreaming so you end up taking it one race at a time,” Three Chimney Farm’s Chief Operating Officer Chris Baker said. “We’ve always believed the potential was there but he’s really stepped up this year.”

Following the Dubai World Cup, Gun Runner returned victorious with a seven-length romp in the June 17 $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) at Churchill Downs. The chestnut colt continued his winning ways at Saratoga with a 5 ¼-length triumph in the Aug. 6 $1.2 million Whitney (GI), which was followed by a 10 ¼-length landslide in the Sept. 2 $750,000 Woodward (GI).

“There’s a fine line of being prepared and over prepared,” Baker said. “Steve and his team have done a masterful job at keeping him in the right spot his entire career, especially this year.”

Joining Baker on Sunday morning to watch Gun Runner’s breeze was Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Racing Manager David Fiske.

“I’ve told Steve before you can put a green screen behind Gun Runner and he’d work the same on any racetrack in the country,” Fiske said. “He has his workmate Gettysburg and they seem to be a well-matched pair. Everything went according to plan and we’ll see how he comes out of the workout. He’s scheduled to fly to Santa Anita (Monday). Steve’s had a fair amount of success flying out to California early. So, it’s pretty much standard. He’ll train up to the Breeders’ Cup.

“I think it was partly the schedule that all of the races fall into and partly that he runs well fresh. He’s a good workhorse and puts a lot into his works. So, from that standpoint he’s pretty easy to nudge into fitness. I think working him up to the race gives Steve a bit more control than putting him into another race.”

Asmussen was at Churchill Downs for Gun Runner’s breeze but was unable to be reached for comment before he had to catch a flight to Remington Park for Sunday’s Oklahoma Derby (GIII) card.

The post ‘Grown Into A Man’: Gun Runner A Model Of Consistency In Sunday Work At Churchill appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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