November 26, 2016
Source: TDN

It always seemed like there was a Grade I race with Gun Runner (Candy Ride {Arg})’s name on it and the hard-knocking chestnut, third in both this year’s GI Kentucky Derby and GI Travers S. and second in the GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, finally earned that top-level victory with a 2 3/4-length win in Friday’s GI Clark H. at Churchill Downs.

Gun Runner broke well and assumed the lead from his inside post as expected frontrunner Noble Bird (Birdstone) was slow out of the gate and trailed the field early. Gun Runner had a clear lead after a quarter in :23.72 and Noble Bird was caught some four wide while moving up to midpack on the first turn. Noble Bird took his first stab at the frontrunner after a half in :48.00, but Gun Runner shrugged off his older rival and skipped clear into the stretch. Breaking Lucky (Lookin at Lucky) looked a major threat in upper stretch, but Gun Runner turned back that longshot with a furlong to run and strode clear an authoritative victor.

Gun Runner earned a shot at the Kentucky Derby with wins in the Feb. 20 GII Risen Star S. and Mar. 26 GII Louisiana Derby to begin his sophomore campaign at Fair Grounds. The chestnut gave way grudgingly when third behind Nyquist (Uncle Mo) and Exaggerator (Curlin) in the Run for the Roses and sat out the rest of the Triple Crown. He returned with a front-running 5 1/4-length victory in the June 18 GIII Matt Winn S. at Churchill and followed a fifth-place finish in the July 31 GI Haskell Invitational with his third-place effort, well behind Arrogate (Unbridled’s Song), in the Aug. 27 GI Travers S. He just missed catching Connect (Curlin) after a wide trip in the Sept. 24 GII Pennsylvania Derby and had to settle for second behind Tamarkuz (Speightstown) in the Nov. 4 GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile

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