By Nicholas Godfrey 10:30AM 20 JAN 2017
USA: A deal has reportedly been reached for Grade 1 winner Gun Runner to join the field for next weekend’s Pegasus World Cup – if he can clear quarantine at Fair Grounds in New Orleans in time for the world’s richest race at Gulfstream Park on January 28.
The four-year-old, third in last year’s Kentucky Derby before winning the Grade 1 Clark Handicap in November, is set to replace Royal Ascot winner War Envoy in the $ 12 million event, with the former Ballydoyle inmate dropping down to the Poseidon Stakes, the $ 400,000 consolation race.
Mick Ruis, one of the original $ 1m Pegasus ‘stakeholders’, told the Daily Racing Form he had reached an agreement with Gun Runner’s owners for the horse to take his available place in the starting gate.
Ruis also owns War Envoy, yet to win in six North American starts since leaving Aidan O’Brien, who saddled him to win the Britannia at Royal Ascot in 2015.
Although trainer Steve Asmussen has been training Gun Runner with the Pegasus in mind, he is stationed at Fair Grounds racetrack, which has been in virtual lockdown in recent weeks owing to an outbreak of equne herpes virus.
However, Ruis told the Form he had a discussion with an official at Gulfstream on Thursday afternoon indicating that the horse would be allowed to visit Gulfstream “provided he tests negative for equine herpesvirus and clears other protocols”.
A full field of 12 is set for the Pegasus, headed by Breeders’ Cup Classic one-two Arrogate and California Chrome. The winner’s share of the Pegasus is $ 7m, with $ 1.75m for second and $ 1m for third.
>>Finest City (Ian Kruljac/Mike Smith), winner of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, is due to make her 2017 debut in the Grade 2 Santa Monica Stakes (10.30pm GMT) at Santa Anita on Saturday but may be scratched owing to the likelihood of a wet track.