Thoroughbred Daily News
Speightstown - Dance Swiftly, by Danzig - WinStar Farm
WinStar Farm - Versailles, KY | 2012 | Entered Stud 2017 | 2019 Fee $10,000

Gun Runner Holds off ‘Mo’ Duo in Risen Star

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Gun Runner (inside) | Lou Hodges Photography

Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm’s Gun Runner (Candy Ride {Arg}) parlayed a perfect trip into a promising victory in Saturday’s GII Risen Star S. at Fair Grounds.

Off at 5-1 making his first start since a fourth-place finish in Churchill’s Nov. 28 GII Kentucky Jockey Club S. behind race favorite Airoforce (Colonel John); subsequent GI Los Alamitos Futurity hero Mor Spirit (Eskendereya); and next-out GIII LeComte S. victor Mo Tom (Uncle Mo), the chestnut gained a foothold at the rail to stalk from third behind solid splits of :22.95 and :46.38. He came off the inside to tackle the pacesetter into the lane, collared him in midstretch, and kept on finding under energetic Florent Geroux encouragement to hold off longshot Forevamo (Uncle Mo) by a half-length. Mo Tom was hampered badly by a rival in midstretch, but ran on resolutely to finish a fast-charging third despite getting a cut on his leg. Airoforce faded to 10th.

“He’s a very nice horse,” offered winning conditioner Steve Asmussen. “We’re very lucky to have him. I thought Florent gave him a beautiful trip with how the track was playing. He’s shown talent the whole time and it’s definitely good to see him in the winner’s circle in a race like this.”

The win capped a “sweet” day for sire Candy Ride, who was also responsible for GIII Fair Grounds H. winner Chocolate Ride and GIII Mineshaft runner-up Eagle.

Saturday, Fair Grounds
VETERANS FORD RISEN STAR S.-GII, $400,000, FG, 2-20, 3yo, 1 1/16m, 1:43.94, ft.
1–#@GUN RUNNER, 116, c, 3, by Candy Ride (Arg)
1st Dam: Quiet Giant (GSW, $405,389), by Giant’s Causeway
2nd Dam: Quiet Dance, by Quiet American
3rd Dam: Misty Dancer, by Lyphard
O-Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC & Three Chimneys Farm;
B-Besilu Stables, LLC (KY); T-Steven M. Asmussen; J-Florent
Geroux. $240,000. Lifetime Record: 4-3-0-0, $306,920. Click
for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating:
A+++ *Triple Plus*.

2–Forevamo, 120, c, 3, Uncle Mo–Candlelightdinner, by Slew
Gin Fizz. ($320,000 2yo ’15 OBSAPR). O-Brittlyn Stable Inc.;
B-Ocala Stud (FL); T-Albert M. Stall Jr. $80,000.
3–Mo Tom, 120, c, 3, Uncle Mo–Caroni, by Rubiano. ($150,000
Ylg ’14 KEESEP). O-G M B Racing; B-Hargus & Sandra Sexton &
Silver Fern Farm (KY); T-Thomas M. Amoss. $40,000.
Margins: HF, 1, 3/4. Odds: 5.10, 40.60, 2.90.
Also Ran: Candy My Boy, Zapperini, In Equality, Tom’s Ready, Its All Relevant, Bistraya, Airoforce, Uncle Walter. Scratched: Laoban, Dolphus. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

“He’s a very nice horse,” Geroux said. “I’ve really liked him since the first time I was on his back a few weeks ago working in the morning. He’s super athletic. I was very confident. I wanted to make sure I saved some ground. Earlier I got beat [with fellow Asmussen trainee Stageplay in the GII Rachel Alexandra S.] and was stuck going wide the whole way. It looked like the track was playing a little bit more inside-favoring. I kept him down there until I asked him to go and he ran a great race.”

Gun Runner overcame a slow pace to don cap and gown at first asking going a flat mile at Churchill Sept. 11, and bested an allowance group that included last Saturday’s GIII Sam F. Davis S. runner-up Rafting (Tapit) at Keeneland Oct. 17. He probably hit the lead too soon in the Kentucky Jockey Club, but had been working well locally in the interim for his sophomore bow.

“That’s the dream, right–the Kentucky Derby,” said co-owner Ron Winchell. “He’s been highly anticipated and a quality horse. Right now the [GII Louisiana Derby Mar. 26] is the plan.”

Gun Runner is the first foal out of a graded stakes-winning half-sister to Horse of the Year Saint Liam (Saint Ballado) who Ben Leon purchased for $3 million out of the Ned Evans dispersal at KEENOV 2011. She produced a Malibu Moon filly in 2014, a Tapit filly in 2015 and was bred back to Tapit last year.

 

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