Gun Runner scores Breeders’ Cup Classic victory
DEL MAR, Calif. (AP) — There’s a new king in horse racing and it’s Gun Runner.
The 4-year-old colt won the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic by 2 1/4 lengths Saturday, sending rival Arrogate to a third straight career-ending defeat at Del Mar.
Gun Runner ran 1 1/4 miles in 2:01.29 and paid $6.80, $4.40 and $3.20.
Collected returned $5.60 and $4, while West Coast was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third and paid $3.60.
“At at the quarter pole, it was just a two-horse race between me and Collected,” Gun Runner’s jockey Florent Geroux said. “We just went on and the best horse won the race.”
Arrogate finished in a dead-heat for fifth with Gunnevera, done in once again at the seaside track north of San Diego. It was the scene of two losses during the summer.
“He just doesn’t seem to get a hold of this racetrack, for whatever reason,” jockey Mike Smith said. “I hate to blame it on the track, but he’s shown it time and time again. I keep trying to talk myself into it, that he’s going to like it one day, but he just never did.”
Arrogate hasn’t been the same horse since his dominant wins in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup and the $10 million Dubai World Cup earlier this year that made him the sport’s richest thoroughbred with over $17 million in earnings.
The Dubai race was the last time Gun Runner lost. Since then, he’s emerged stronger than ever with four consecutive victories.
“He’s better today than he’s ever been,” said trainer Steve Asmussen, who won the Classic for the first time since 2007 with Curlin.
Arrogate was a slight 2-1 favorite over Gun Runner, with $1,420,233 bet on Arrogate to win — $132,416 more than on Gun Runner.
The Classic capped a wild weekend at the seaside track north of San Diego that played host to the Breeders’ Cup for the first time. Just two favorites won in 13 races — Mendelssohn in the $1 million Juvenile Turf on Friday and World Approval in the $2 million Mile on Saturday.
The biggest upset belonged to Bar of Gold in the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint. She paid $135.40 to win at 60-1 odds.
There were three Europe-based winners: Mendelssohn, Wuheida in the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf, and Talismanic in the $4 million Turf.
New York-based trainer Chad Brown won two races: the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf with Rushing Fall and the $2 million Juvenile with 11-1 shot Good Magic.
Bob Baffert saddled a record four horses in pursuit of a record fourth straight win in the Classic. He finished 2-3 with Collected and West Coast, and was left to puzzle over another disappointing showing by Arrogate. His other horse, Mubtaahij, was eighth.
Arrogate broke a step slow and banged his left side on the starting gate.
“At the break when he ducked in and he had to gather him up, you just can’t do that against these horses,” Baffert said. “But I notice when he goes around these turns he loses momentum. I can’t really totally blame it on the track. He’s so much better than that.”