Gunite

Epicenter Exits Runhappy Travers in Fine Shape

Winchell Thoroughbreds' Epicenter (Not This Time) was in fine shape Sunday morning, a day after his emphatic victory in the GI Runhappy Travers S. at Saratoga. "He's doing beautifully. He's very proud of himself," trainer Steve Asmussen said. "The race went beautifully and it was everything we hoped for. We're very proud of his win and excited about who he is." The Travers was the first Grade I win for Epicenter, who was runner-up in the GI Kentucky Derby and GI Preakness S. "We wanted it for him and for...

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Gunite Game in Amsterdam Victory, Corniche Fades to Last

While all eyes were on returning champion Corniche (Quality Road) who faded to last, Gunite (Gun Runner) completed a big weekend at Saratoga for Winchell Thoroughbreds and trainer Steve Asmussen with a gritty victory in the GII Amsterdam S. in upstate New York Sunday. Sent off at 7-1, last year's GI Hopeful S. winner battled Pinehurst (Twirling Candy) through fractions of :21.78 and :44.60, while Corniche sat in stalking position behind the dueling leaders. As the champ backed up on the turn, Gunite strode to the lead into the lane...

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Corniche Returns in Amsterdam

Champion Corniche (Quality Road) makes his highly anticipated return to the races and first start for trainer Todd Pletcher Sunday in Saratoga's GII Amsterdam S. The 'TDN Rising Star' spent some time at WinStar after his championships season and, with Bob Baffert serving his suspension, was sent to Pletcher in May with an eye on the late season sophomore highlights. (Click here for Pletcher's thoughts in Mike Kane's Saturday feature). "We're hoping that with the good fortune we had with his sire Quality Road and him making his debut for...

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Insight Outcomes: 'Rising Star' Andiamo a Firenze is the Whole Package

With runners this week from New York to Kentucky and in between hailing from exceptional families, Insights was treated to a 'Rising Star' performance and other top-notch victories ready to fire the imagination. It's a good bet a number of these winners--and even those whose debuts weren't quite as fruitful on first attempt--will be heard from again. THURSDAY'S INSIGHTS: Full to Good Magic Debuts at Belmont 4th-Belmont, $90,000, Msw, 6-2, 3yo/up, 6f, 1:10.98, my, 2 1/4 lengths. Third time was a charm for the gelded CAPONE (g, 3, Classic Empire--Hit...

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Firenze Fire Half-Brother Debuts at Belmont Park

Sponsored by Alex Nichols Agency 1st-BEL, $75K, MSW, 2yo, 5 1/2f, 1:00 p.m. ANDIAMO A FIRENZE (Speightstown), a half-brother to Grade I-winning sprinter Firenze Fire (Poseidon's Warrior), debuts in this spot for trainer Kelly Breen. His older brother won a total of 13 black-type events for Breen and earned over $2.7 million. He is also a half-brother to stakes-placed Firenze Freedom (Istan). The Mr Amore Stable homebred has posted back-to-back bullet works at Belmont, going four furlongs from the gate May 12 in :47 3/5 (1/44) and five furlongs May...

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Gunite Looks to Give Asmussen Second Straight Champagne

Last year Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen captured both the GI Hopeful S. at Saratoga and GI Champagne S. at Belmont with the fleet-footed Jackie's Warrior (Maclean's Music) and he looks to repeat that feat Saturday when he saddles Gunite (Gun Runner) in this year's Champagne. The stallion-making race offers a spot in the gate for the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile in November. A third-out graduate going six panels at Churchill Downs June 26, Gunite finished second behind 'TDN Rising Star' High Oak (Gormley) in the GII Saratoga Special S....

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Siblings to New Juvenile GI Winners Highlight KEESEP

Three yearlings in the Keeneland September Sale catalogue received big updates over the weekend when their year-older siblings captured Grade Is at two of America's premiere race meets over the holiday weekend. GI Runhappy Del Mar Futurity S. winner Pinehurst's (Twirling Candy) yearling half-brother by Cairo Prince sold prior to the juvenile's breakout score, bringing $120,000 from pinhooker Randy Bradshaw at Fasig-Tipton's New York-Bred Yearling Sale in mid-August. However, the winners of the GI TVG Del Mar Debutante S., GI Spinaway S. and GI Hopeful S. will be represented by...

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Taking Stock: Gun Runner Flexes Candy Ride/Storm Cat Nick

Two sons of Candy Ride (Arg)--Gun Runner and Twirling Candy--were represented by three 2-year-old Grade l winners over the weekend, and do you know one thing they had in common? Each was produced by a Storm Cat-line mare. This affinity for the Storm Cat line was also an important feature of Candy Ride's own success, and breeders appear to be copying that formula with his sons. It's not surprising; it's something that usually happens when a stallion is successful with the females of another sire line, and this type of...

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Steve Asmussen Talks Banner Saratoga on Writers' Room

Early in the Saratoga meeting, Steve Asmussen broke the all-time record of number of winners for a North American trainer. It was a remarkable achievement in a remarkable career, and comes at the age of just 55 years old. It turns out he was just warming up. In a remarkable closing rush to the meeting, Asmussen won nine Grade I races in five days, including one a day in each of the last three days of the week when he sent out Echo Zulu to win the Spinaway, Gunite to...

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Hot Trainer Steve Asmussen Joins TDN Writer's Room

On his drive from Saratoga to Kentucky Downs Tuesday, Steve Asmussen stopped in every state he drove through and bought lottery tickets. Shocking that he didn't win. Coming off one of the greatest week-and-a-half stretches in racing history, during which he won five Grade I races in Saratoga over nine days, Asmussen was this week's Green Group Guest of the Week on the TDN Writer's Room, presented by Keeneland. If that wasn't enough, two of his wins, Gunite in the GI Hopeful S. and Echo Zulu in the GI Spinaway...

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This Week in Review: Can Gunite Break the Curse of the Hopeful

There's no doubt that Gunite (Gun Runner) is a quality horse and he secured an important win Monday at Saratoga in the GI Hopeful S when upsetting the highly regarded colts Wit (Practical Joke) and High Oak (Gormley). But is he a GI Kentucky Derby winner? If the last 43 runnings of the Hopeful mean anything, the answer is no. The Hopeful is the first Grade I race for 2-year-old males run each year on the NYRA calendar and always brings together groups of horses who were impressive winners in...

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Gunite Caps Grade I Double For Gun Runner in Hopeful

Gunite (Gun Runner) capped off a remarkable summer for both his freshman sire and his trainer on closing day Monday at Saratoga, shaking off pace pressure and kicking away in the stretch to an 11-1 upset of the GI Hopeful S. His well-earned victory made it a clean sweep of the Spa's annual marquee 2-year-old races for Three Chimneys Farm's freshman sensation Gun Runner after Echo Zulu dominated the GI Spinaway S. Sunday, and was the icing on the cake for Steve Asmussen, who had his most successful Saratoga season...

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