'Locked' and Loaded: Gun Runner Colt Secures 'TDN Rising Star' Honors at the Spa

Locked | Sarah Andrew

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – With this smashing victory in the fifth race Friday, Locked (Gun Runner) graduated summa cum laude with 'TDN Rising Star' honors from the 2-year-old maiden special weight ranks at Saratoga Race Course.

A month after his career debut went awry, Locked turned in a top-notch performance under Jose Ortiz, scoring by 7 1/4 lengths and covering the mile in 1:36. Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher said it is likely that the chestnut colt will run next in the GI Champagne S. or the GI Breeders' Futurity S.

Locked is co-owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Walmac Farm. He is out of the Malibu Moon mare Luna Rosa and was purchased for $425,000 at the 2022 Keeneland September sale.

Eclipse chairman Brian Spearman said the colt really delivered in his second trip to the races.

“We ran him Whitney weekend up here, came in third, stumbled a little bit coming out,” Spearman said. “Todd has always thought very, very highly of him. We were hoping what we saw today would be exactly what we thought, so we're super excited.”

Locked found trouble at the start of the Aug. 5 race and ended up at the rear of the field of 10, but he did rally and managed to hit the board in the six-furlong contest. Pletcher said getting a second crack against maidens can be a benefit.

“I think sometimes it's better for their development,” Pletcher said. “In that debut he got a lot of dirt in his face. He got a lot of experience, a lot of education that paid off. He showed good tactical speed today, put Jose right into the race.”

Locked and Ortiz were bumped a bit leaving the gate, but promptly grabbed a pace-pressing position outside of Arteta (Take Charge Indy), who led the field through splits of :23.96 and :47.72. They moved to the front just under a half-mile from home and were never challenged.

“Jose said he was travelling very comfortably, all the way down the backside,” Pletcher said. “When he kind of squeezed him, he jumped underneath him and finished up impressively. The final time, I thought, was exceptional.”

Spearman said that Eclipse founder and president Aron Wellman, the decision-maker on purchases, identified the colt bred by Rosa Colasanti as a top prospect.

“He loved the horse from the beginning,” Spearman said. “He loved the confirmation. He talked about the pedigree. He loved the mare. For him, I think it was the total package and once he saw him at the sale I think he was convinced we've got to try to get this one. So we did.”

Locked was no surprise to bettors, who made him the 2-5 favorite. He paid $3.50 to win.

Although the result of the first race was disappointing, Pletcher said he was better for the outing.

“He did what a lot of first timers to do, climbed from the kickback,” Pletcher said. “But when he levelled off, he really came with a strong late run and an exceptional gallop out. He came back with two dynamite breezes afterwards. We've been pointing to this race since we knew it was here and we were expecting good things from him.”

5th-Saratoga, $105,000, Msw, 9-1, 2yo, 1m, 1:36.00, ft, 7 1/4 lengths.
LOCKED, c, 2, by Gun Runner
                1st Dam: Luna Rosa, by Malibu Moon
                2nd Dam: Gabriellina Giof (GB), by Ashkalani (Ire)
                3rd Dam: Paola Quatraro (Ire), by Cure the Blues
Sales history: $425,000 Ylg '22 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 2-1-0-1, $70,350. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by FanDuel TV. Click for the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
O-Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners & Walmac Farm; B-Rosa Colasanti (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher.

Locked (Gun Runner) became the eighth 'TDN Rising Star' for his leading young sire with a powerhouse performance at second asking at Saratoga Friday afternoon.

The Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Walmac Farm colorbearer wasn't much of a secret as the 3-4 favorite while stretching to a mile after rallying smartly from last after some trouble at the start to finish a very promising third sprinting on debut for Todd Pletcher at Saratoga Aug. 5 (Second Chances series).

Locked, a $425,000 KEESEP yearling purchase, bumped with a rival at the start this time, but was still away in good enough order to secure a perfect spot in an outside second. Ready to pounce beneath Jose Ortiz through fractions of :23.96 and :47.72, the chestnut could wait no longer, and took over with authority approaching the three-eighths pole. Locked hit the top of the stretch in complete control and was handed confidently down the lane en route to a 7 1/4-length tally over Drum Roll Please (Hard Spun) while stopping the timer in a sharp 1:36 flat.

Bred in Kentucky by Rosa Colasanti, Locked was produced by a winning half-sister to MGISW Gabby's Golden Gal (Medaglia d'Oro) and MGSW & GISP Always a Princess (Leroidesanimaux {Brz}). The Gun Runner/Malibu Moon cross is already responsible for GSWs Shotgun Hottie and Runninsonofagun. Locked is also bred similarly to MGISW and 'TDN Rising Star' Taiba (Gun Runner), who is out of a Flatter mare.

Locked's dam produced a colt by Caravaggio in 2022 and a filly by Tiz the Law this year. She was bred back to Early Voting. —Steve Sherack

 

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