Winchell Thoroughbreds

Gun Runner's Disarm Fires a Big One at the Spa for 'Rising Star' Honors

Disarm (c, 2, Gun Runner--Easy Tap, by Tapit), a visually impressive rallying third behind subsequent GIII Sanford S. winner Mo Strike (Uncle Mo) going 5 1/2 furlongs on debut at Churchill Downs June 19, took a big step forward to earn 'TDN Rising Star' honors in his second trip to the post at Saratoga Saturday. Drawn on the fence in this seven-furlong affair, the Winchell homebred traveled nicely on the inside in fifth through an opening quarter in :22.77. The 9-5 second-choice was tipped out three deep leaving the quarter...

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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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Epicenter Erupts Late in Jim Dandy

Epicenter (Not This Time), a too-good-to-be-second as the favorite in both the GI Kentucky Derby and GI Preakness S., stamped himself as the horse to beat in the 'Mid-Summer Derby' with a powerful, last-to-first victory in Saturday's GII Jim Dandy S. at Saratoga. Zandon (Upstart), making his first start since a third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, was 1 1/2 lengths back in second after racing prominently. Tawny Port (Pioneerof the Nile), a last out winner of the GIII Ohio Derby, was another half-length back in third. The GI Preakness...

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Asmussen Set For Big Saturday at the Spa

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY - Two standouts. Two high-profile graded stakes. Two different scenarios Saturday for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. In the Grade I portion of his afternoon at Saratoga Race Course, Asmussen will saddle champion Jackie's Warrior (Maclean's Music), who just might go off as the shortest-priced favorite in the history of the $350,000 GI Alfred G. Vanderbilt H., which has been run since 1985. One race later, in the $600,000 GII Jim Dandy S., Asmussen will send out Epicenter (Not This Time), runner-up as the favorite in...

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Asmussen Heavyweights Tune Up For Spa Stakes

Top sophomore colt Epicenter (Not This Time) and Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Jackie's Warrior (Maclean's Music) highlighted the Saratoga worktab over the last few mornings as each prepares for big-race engagements July 30. Winchell Thorougbreds' GI Kentucky Derby and GI Preakness S. runner-up Epicenter makes his first start of the second half of the season in the GII Jim Dandy S. and went five furlongs over the Oklahoma training track Monday in 1:01.13 in the company of the 3-year-old maiden Flute Master (Gun Runner) (1:03.12). "Visually impressive is what he is,"...

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Gunite Returns to Winner's Circle in Maxfield

Winchell Thoroughbreds' Gunite, winner of last year's GI Hopeful S., scored a determined victory in the Maxfield S. at Churchill Downs Sunday. The 4-5 favorite raced along the rail just off the pace as longshot Overtaxed (Fed Biz) took the field through fractions of :23.08 and :46.25. He had nowhere to run nearing the stretch, but the rail opened at the top of the lane and the favorite snuck through before grittily holding off both My Prankster and Hoist the Gold to get the best of a three-way photo finish...

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Second Chances: More Ammo for Leading Young Sire Gun Runner

In this continuing series, TDN's Senior Editor Steve Sherack catches up with the connections of promising maidens to keep on your radar. Disarm (c, 2, Gun Runner--Easy Tap, by Tapit) turned it on nicely in the stretch to report home an encouraging third on debut at Churchill Downs June 19. The chestnut's worktab, dating back to late March, was led by a four-furlong bullet in :46 4/5 (1/28) at Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen's Louisville base June 6. Outfooted early and under a ride in eighth through an opening quarter...

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Epicenter Back to Work, Targeting Summer Campaign at Saratoga

Epicenter (Not This Time), a too-good-to-be-second as the favorite in both the GI Kentucky Derby and GI Preakness S., has begun gearing up for a summer campaign at Saratoga. The Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC colorbearer worked four furlongs in an easy :50.60 (31/37) at Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen's Churchill Downs base June 20, just his second move since rallying for runner-up honors in the middle leg of the Triple Crown. "He's like a machine," said David Fiske, longtime advisor to the Winchell family. "He took a few weeks off after...

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Asmussen Front and 'Center' with Potential Derby Favorite

LOUISVILLE, KY -  As the all-time leading trainer at Churchill Downs, no one has won more races beneath the Twin Spires than Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen. Just not on the first Saturday in May. Heading into GI Kentucky Derby 148 with 7-2 morning-line second choice Epicenter (Not This Time), as expected, Asmussen's well-documented 23-0-2-2 record in the 'Run for the Roses' has been a major topic of discussion. "I don't know if it's healthy to want anything that much," Asmussen said. "I grew up in horseracing. We've been unbelievably...

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Sentient Jet Returns as Derby Partner

Sentient Jet is back for a seventh year as a corporate partner of the Kentucky Derby and Oaks and Churchill Downs and the private aviation company will team up with Derby contender Epicenter and Oaks hopeful Echo Zulu. Both horses will wear Sentient Jet branded blankets. "The Kentucky Derby is tradition at Sentient Jet which is why we are excited to be partnering with Winchell Thoroughbreds once again in supporting Epicenter and Echo Zulu come Oaks and Derby Day. Under the training of Steve Asmussen, we are confident they will...

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Epicenter Puts in Final Derby Work

Winchell Thoroughbreds' Epicenter (Not This Time) put in his final work ahead of next week's GI Kentucky Derby with a five-furlong drill in 1:01.00 (3/6) at Churchill Downs Sunday. Over a muddy track, exercise rider Roberto Howell piloted the GII Louisiana Derby winner through splits of :12.60, :24.40, :36.20, :48.40 and he galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.80. "Honestly I have so much confidence in Epicenter right now I don't think you could overdo it [with a horse like him]," trainer Steve Asmussen Sunday. "He has taken a lot of...

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Sunday's Derby Doings

Trainer Steve Asmussen sent his GI Kentucky Derby and GI Kentucky Oaks hopefuls out to work at Churchill Downs Sunday morning. Winchell Thoroughbreds' Derby contender Epicenter (Not This Time) worked six furlongs in 1:12.20 (3/4), while Oaks hopeful Echo Zulu (Gun Runner) went the same distance in a bullet 1:11.80 (1/4). With exercise rider Wilson Fabian in the saddle, Echo Zulu broke to the inside of regular workmate King Ottoman (Curlin), who was ridden by former jockey Eddie Martin, Jr. Echo Zulu worked through eighth-mile fractions of :12.20, :23.80, :35.60...

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