News & Barn notes

Gun Runner Arrives For Sunday’s Haskell at Monmouth

July 26, 2016


With the 49th renewal of the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational just days away, Gun Runner became the first of the horses stabled outside of Monmouth Park to arrive at the Jersey Shore when a van carrying the Louisiana Derby winner rolled through the stable gate at 9:20 a.m.

“He looked like he shipped really well,” said Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen. “His energy is good. The plan is to tack walk him tomorrow (Wednesday) to get him use to his surroundings. He will gallop over the track Thursday, Friday and Saturday and probably school in the paddock Friday.”

Owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC, Three Chimneys Farm LLC and Besilu Stables, Gun Runner exits a third place finish in the Kentucky Derby and most recently a score in the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs on June 18.

The 3-year-old colt by Candy Ride out of the Giant’s Causeway mare Quiet Giant has worked five times since his Matt Winn victory. The latest came on July 25 at Saratoga where he went four furlongs in :49 3/5.

Gun Runner, who arrived at Monmouth from Saratoga, has won two Grade 2 events in his sophomore campaign, the Risen Star Stakes and Louisiana Derby, both at Fair Grounds.He will take on two familiar foes from the Kentucky Derby in Sunday’s mile and an eighth Haskell. Champion Nyquist makes his first start since his third place finish in the Preakness and multiple Grade 1 winner Brody’s Cause, who finished seventh in the Derby, will once again meet Gun Runner in the starting gate.

Two locally based horses will try to defend their home turf in the Haskell. Awesome Slew, for Eddie Plesa Jr., exits a third place finish in his first career start around two turns in the Grade 3 Pegasus Stakes on June 19, while Grade 3 Withers winner Sunny Ridge, for trainer Jason Servis, makes his first start off nearly a five month layoff.

Bob Baffert tries for his record ninth Haskell win when he brings American Freedom to the Garden State. American Freedom is exiting a win in the Grade 3 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows.

The Haskell’s scheduled post time is 5:49 p.m. and will be telecast live on NBC. 

The Haskell is a Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” event for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Gates will open early on Haskell Day at 10 a.m. with first race scheduled for 12 noon.