- Trainer: Steve Asmussen
- Likely Jockey: Florent Geroux
- Owner: Thoroughbreds LLC & Three Chimneys Farm
- Age & Breeding: 4-year-old colt; Candy Ride – Quiet Giant
- Season Form Figures: 12111
- Career Highlight: Winning the Woodward Stakes by over ten lengths
When Gun Runner ran second in the Dubai World Cup, his status in the pecking order seemed clear: he was the second best older horse competing in 2017, behind only Arrogate, who was clearly (or so it seemed back then) in a class by himself. The margin between the two didn’t reflect Arrogate’s superiority at that time as he broke poorly, looked out of the race, then weaved his way through the field and won in hand in the end.
A funny thing happened on the way to the Breeders’ Cup. Since that day, Arrogate, the Juddmonte Farms’ flag-bearer, has raced twice and lost twice. Meanwhile, Gun Runner is a perfect three-for-three, including a brace of Grade 1 victories at Saratoga that represent the two best races of his life.
Gun Runner is a serious horse with a blend of speed and stamina. He’s what USA horsemen and horseplayers call a push-button horse. He’s fast enough to find himself on the lead in many instances, but he can also rate kindly off of other speed and finish with gusto. Whereas Arrogate seems to have lost some of his early speed, and has questionable form at this point, Gun Runner looks primed for another huge effort and is sharper than ever.
Trainer Steve Asmussen has won this race before – in 2007 with Curlin – and Gun Runner gives him an excellent chance to win his second. One does have to note that the Arrogate who competed in Dubai would be expected to handle Gun Runner: his best races are still better than what we’ve seen from Gun Runner at his best. But there’s been a lot of water under the bridge since then. Gun Runner has established himself as the leader of this division, and he’ll take all the beating at Del Mar. There’s a good chance he makes the 7-4 currently on offer in places look like a gift, especially if Arrogate’s best days are behind him.