Wed | Oct 17, 2018

Gun Runner finally gets his Pegasus shot

Published:Saturday | January 27, 2018 | 12:00 AM
In this November 4, 2017, file photo, jockey Florent Geroux celebrates as Gun Runner heads to the wire to win in the Breeders' Cup Classic horse race in Del Mar, California.


Gun Runner will start from one of the outside posts in today's Pegasus World Cup Invitational, a less-than-ideal situation even for the top horse in the sport right now.

Then again, at least he'll be out there.

Gun Runner's connections wanted him in the inaugural edition of the Pegasus a year ago, only to have their entry denied. There was concern that Gun Runner, who was stabled at Fair Grounds which had barns under quarantine because two other horses were ill with a highly contagious virus shouldn't be permitted to be around the Pegasus field because of the potential health risk.

Can he do it?

This time, there was no denying Gun Runner's path to the Pegasus. The only question is if any of the other 11 horses in the field can deny him the $7-million winner's share of the $16 million purse, as the newly crowned Horse of the Year will be the heavy favourite to win what will be his final race before retirement.

"I think that we all can feel a little loss over the lack of an opportunity to running in it last year," Gun Runner trainer Steve Asmussen said. "And hopefully this puts us in a position to correct that."

The 1800-metre test at Gulfstream Park might not be a cakewalk, not even for Gun Runner who'll start from the No. 10 post.

The field is loaded with firepower, with five of the top-six finishers from November's Breeders' Cup Classic Gun Runner, Collected, West Coast, War Story and Gunnevera meeting again. And that doesn't even include Sharp Azteca, the likely second choice in the wagering and a horse that has finished no worse than third in 13 of his last 14 starts.