In his typically professional manner Jan. 22, Gun Runner breezed a half-mile in :48.96 at Gulfstream Park in the last timed workout ahead of his career finale in the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) Jan. 27 at Gulfstream.
Gun Runner, co-owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm, will be the morning-line favorite in the Pegasus World Cup, the world's richest race. He brings a four-race winning streak, all in grade 1 races, into the 1 1/8-mile contest.
On Monday, with exercise rider Angel Garcia aboard on a track closed for his workout at 7:30 a.m., the 5-year-old son of Candy Ride worked from the half-mile pole to the finish line. He galloped out to five furlongs in 1:02.11. His easy four-furlong breeze ranked ninth-fastest of 15 at the distance.
"I loved how he did it," said Scott Blasi, chief assistant to trainer Steve Asumssen. "Angel was really happy with him and said, 'I never asked him to do anything.' "
Gun Runner won the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Del Mar Nov. 4 and has been training for the Pegasus World Cup at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in New Orleans. He shipped to Gulfstream Jan. 18 and, following Asmussen's playbook, had his final breeze over the track where he will compete. Blasi said Gun Runner handled shipping to South Florida and the new surface without incident.
"He's just been really special to us and he continues to do exactly what you want him to do," Blasi said. "It's kind of unheard of over a three-year career. I'm just really happy with how he got over the ground. He's cooling out great and is ready for Saturday."
Blasi acknowledged that it can be difficult to judge Gun Runner's workouts visually because of his smooth running style.
"That's just kind of Gun Runner. He just does stuff so effortlessly," Blasi said. "You think that he's not going anywhere, then you look down at your watch and you're like 'Wow.' Especially this year he has gotten stronger and faster. There's just a lot more to him. We couldn't be happier with him."
Gun Runner has won 11 of 18 career starts and earned $8,988,500. A victory in the Pegasus World Cup, with the winner's share worth $7 million, would move him into second place in career earnings for a North America-based horse, behind only Arrogate , who won the 2017 Pegasus. Gun Runner is scheduled to retire after the Pegasus and will begin his stud career at Three Chimneys Farm near Versailles, Ky.