“That’s where we’re leaning,” trainer Brad Cox said of the colt who had been mentioned as a possible challenger to Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) winner Nyquist in the Preakness. “Nyquist isn’t in there (Sir Barton field). That has a lot to do with it.”
Winner of his first two career starts this winter at Oaklawn Park, Dazzling Gem finished third in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) and fourth in the Arkansas Derby (gr. I).
In the Sir Barton, the Misremembered colt cuts back to 1 1/16 miles, the distance at which he won in his first try against winners Feb. 13.
“Honestly right now it might not be a bad thing to shorten this horse up a little bit. His last two races have been a mile and an eighth,” Cox said. “I’m not saying he can’t handle a mile and an eighth, but he certainly didn’t jump out that he wanted even more ground going a mile and three-sixteenths, so we’ll back him up a little bit and it’s softer competition in the Sir Barton as opposed to the Preakness.”
“I think this will be a great stepping-stone to bigger and better things, hopefully, the rest of the year,” Cox said. “I think this is the most realistic spot for the horse and the best spot as far as moving forward.”
With exercise rider Carlos Rosas aboard for trainer Steve Asmussen, Gun Runner posted splits of :25 2/5 and :51 2/5, galloping out five furlongs in 1:04 3/5. The work was the 38th fastest of 42 at the distance over a fast track.
“I thought he worked beautifully; he moved well,” trainer Steve Asmussen said of the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) winner who finished third in the Kentucky Derby. “I am very happy with him physically (after the Derby). He has a good attitude and a good appetite and I hope it continues that way.”
No decision has been made on possible Preakness participation by Gun Runner, owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, Three Chimneys Farm, and Besilu Stables.