Gun Runner, one of the leading candidates for Horse of the Year and one of the best older horses in training in the US, is going to point for the second running of The Pegasus following his Breeders’ Cup Classic run at Del Mar in a few weeks.
This is good news for the Stronach Group, Gulfstream Park, and racing in general. In the second year of its history it will be a help to have a top horse and possibly Breeders’ Cup Classic winner in the field. While it may scare away some connections from the cool million it takes to get a slot in the starting gate, the draw, excitement, and popularity it will give the race outweighs that factor in my opinion. They’ll still likely gar a full field with that monster purse.
Gun Runner was going to run in the inaugural Pegasus last year but quarantine issues at the Fair Grounds where he had been stabled kept him out of it. Arrogate, the Breeders’ Cup Classic winner last year, went on to take the first Pegasus. Should Gun Runner win the Classic this year and go on to take the Pegasus the race would have a nice history with only two runnings.
The Breeders’ Cup might be a tall order for Gun Runner despite his outstanding form as he’ll have to beat Arrogate and others at a mile and a quarter which is a distance to date he has not won at. Nonetheless it is good to see him coming back for the Pegasus and that the big purse is starting to already have an impact on top horses staying in training. It’s hard to compete with the lucrative breeding opportunities for these type horses, but whale purses like the Pegasus’ $16 million can do it.
Gun Runner’s connections said a decision regarding his stud career will be made following the Pegasus. He’ll have plenty of offers and options and they will sky rocket if he should win one let alone both of his scheduled last two starts.