Gun Runner took to the Santa Anita Park track on October 30 for a half-mile breeze and wore a saddle towel engraved with the words “Dirt Mile”. Entered in both the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) and the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I), the “Dirt Mile” towel should be an indicator of which race he’ll participate in.
Co-owner Ron Winchell said it’s about 95 percent confirmed he’ll run in the Dirt Mile. Whichever race he does compete in, Gun Runner is ready, having ran a half-mile training run in :48 2/5.
“I think from what we’ve seen of who is going and what they’re doing, (the) Dirt Mile is probably best spot for him,” said Winchell. “He’s tried the 1 1/4 miles a couple times and he ran good, but he didn’t win. I think that next year, the 1 1/4 miles—if he stays in training—will be within him. Right now, maybe it’s a little premature.”
Trainer Steve Asmussen prefers his charges take it easy in their last half-mile works and prefers they come in around :50. Gun Runner’s final time was fast and his splits of :12 3/5 and :36 1/5 showed he was doing what he wanted with ease on the track. He galloped five furlongs in a time of 1:01 2/5.
“Couldn’t be happier. He just went so smooth,” said Winchell. “He went nice and fast—just put his head down. If I could have dictated how he worked earlier today—if I could say, ‘This is what I want’—that’s what we got.”
Gun Runner heads into the Breeders’ Cup coming of a second-place finish in the Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) on September 24. He has won five of his ten career starts and earned over $1.5 million.