Breeders’ Cup: Gun Runner wins Classic; Arrogate finishes fifth
DEL MAR — The Breeders’ Cup Classic turned into a classic duel. Just not the classic duel most of the crowd at Del Mar on Saturday expected.
Gun Runner, pushed by Collected at a fast early pace, kept going and won by 2 1/4 lengths with jockey Florent Geroux in the $6 million main event of Breeders’ Cup weekend in front of 37,692 fans.
Arrogate, who went off a slight favorite over Gun Runner at 2-1 odds, started awkwardly from post position 1, fell back to eighth among the 11 runners and finished in a dead heat for fifth.
It was the third straight defeat for Arrogate, who won this race a year ago at Santa Anita and had a sensational start to the 2017 season.
Collected and West Coast — trained by Bob Baffert, as is Arrogate — finished second and third. War Story was fourth.
Gun Runner, a 4-year-old trained by Steve Asmussen for Winchell Thoroughbreds, likely clinched the Horse of the Year title with his fourth consecutive victory and first outside New York, Kentucky and Arkansas.
For Collected, winner of Del Mar’s Pacific Classic in August, this was a superb effort that put Gun Runner to his toughest test yet.
The performance, which rewarded bettors with a $6.80 payoff, was all the more impressive because Gun Runner had never won at the Breeders’ Cup Classic distance of 1 1/4 miles. The sun of Candy Ride had been 0 for 3 at 1 1/4 miles, and many doubted his stamina. He proved them wrong.
After setting a fast pace of 1:10.50 for the first three-quarters of a mile, Gun Runner completed the race in 2:01.29.