Asmussen Relishes Gun Runner's Foster Romp

Asmussen Relishes Gun Runner's Foster Romp
Photo: Coady Photography
Florent Geroux celebrates after winning the Stephen Foster aboard Gun Runner

Trainer Steve Asmussen was still beaming the morning of June 18, following Gun Runner's stellar seven-length victory in Saturday night's $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs.

"There's not more I can say than this horse is simply the real deal," Asmussen said. "We'll look at races at Saratoga for his next start, possibly the Aug. 5 Whitney (Stakes, G1), but the big relief is already getting him a spot in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1)."

Ridden by jockey Florent Geroux, Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farms' son of Candy Ride   became the fifth horse to win the Stephen Foster a year after winning the Clark Handicap (G1) at the Louisville oval in the fall: Hopeful Word (1985-86), No Marker (1989-90), Saint Liam (2004-05), and Blame   (2009-10) also accompled the double.

ANGST: Gun Runner Powers to Easy Stephen Foster Win

Gun Runner covered the Stephen Foster's 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:47.56, the fifth-fastest running of the race. The colt's victory margin was a record and eclipsed Street Cry, who had won the Dubai World Cup (G1) in his previous start and took the 2002 Foster by 6 1/2 lengths. The win pushed Gun Runner's earnings to more than $4.6 million.

"You know, going back and thinking about the race, it's very rare as a jockey that you can feel a horse never getting tired in a 1 1/8-mile grade 1," Geroux said. "He's a pretty phenomenal horse."

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