Trainer Steve Asmussen was still beaming Sunday morning following Gun Runner’s stellar seven-length victory in Saturday night’s $ 500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap Presented by GE Appliances (Grade I).
“There’s not more I can say then 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 (GI), but the big relief is already getting him a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.”
Ridden by jockey Florent Geroux, Gun Runner became only fifth horse to win the Stephen Foster the year after winning the Clark Handicap here in the fall: Hopeful Word (1985-86), No Marker (1989-90), Saint Liam (2004-05), and Blame (2009-10).
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 (IRE), a winner of the Dubai World Cup in his previous start, who won the 2002 Foster by 6 ½ lengths.
“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 I,” Geroux said. “He’s a pretty phenomenal horse.”
There was no rest for the weary as the 30-year-old French jockey breezed two horses for Asmussen on Sunday morning.
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