Gun Runner scores Breeders' Cup Classic victory
DEL MAR, California (AP) :
There's a new king in horse racing and it's Gun Runner.
The four-year-old colt won the US$6 million Breeders' Cup Classic by two and a quarter lengths yesterday, sending rival Arrogate to a third straight career-ending defeat at Del Mar.
Gun Runner ran 2000m in 2:01.29.
Arrogate finished in a dead-heat for fifth with Gunnevera, done in once again at the seaside track north of San Diego. It was the scene of two losses during the summer.
He hasn't been the same horse since his dominant wins in the US$12 million Pegasus World Cup and the US$10 million Dubai World Cup earlier this year that made him the sport's richest thoroughbred with over US$17 million in earnings.
The Dubai race was the last time Gun Runner lost. Since then, he has emerged stronger than ever with four consecutive victories.
Arrogate was a slight 2-1 favourite over Gun Runner, trained by Steve Asmussen, who last won the Classic in 2007 with Curlin.
Bob Baffert saddled a record four horses in pursuit of a record fourth straight win in the Classic. He finished second and third with Collected and West Coast and was left to puzzle over another disappointing showing by Arrogate.
On Friday, Forever Unbridled swept to the lead coming off the far turn and held off late-charging Abel Tasman to win the US$2 million Distaff by a half-length.
The 5-year-old mare was coming in off a 73-day layoff. She showed no rust, though, in bettering her third-place finish in the race a year ago at Santa Anita.
Ridden by John Velazquez, Forever Unbridled ran 1800m in 1:50.25 at odds of 7-2.
Abel Tasman, a winner of three Grade 1 races this year, was second for trainer Baffert. Paradise Woods finished third.
Trainer Dallas Stewart earned his second Cup victory, 16 years after Unbridled Elaine's upset win in the same race at Belmont Park. Velazquez collected his 14th career Cup win in the US$2 million race.
Velazquez earned US$110,000 for his winning ride. Joel Rosario will get the same amount for sitting in the jockeys' room after Forever Unbridled's owner Charles Fipke made a late change to Velazquez that prevented Rosario from securing another mount.
"For timing and consistency, Johnny's the best," said Fipke, the Canadian gemologist and prospector who discovered diamonds in the Northwest Territories.