Gun Runner displayed greatness in his final race

Updated February 1, 2018 - 6:19 pm

We’ll head up the on-ramp and get back onto the road to Louisville momentarily, but first let’s take a moment to savor Gun Runner’s amazing performance Saturday in the Pegasus World Cup.

I’m still kicking myself for thinking his tough outside post position might get him beat in the $16 million race, his final appearance before heading to the breeding shed.

In doing so, I failed to realize just how special he is.

“Class laughs at things like pace and post position,” Les Izmore, a member of our #RJhorseracing handicapping corps, reminded me after the race.

That wasn’t red boarding — a term used to describe horseplayers who like to talk about what an obvious choice a horse was after the race is run. Les is a savvy judge of equine talent and was singing Gun Runner’s praises in comparison to the competition well beforehand.

He also reviewed the race to make sure it was as strong as it appeared to the naked eye. It survived the test: Each of the first four quarter miles was run in 24 seconds or less before the pace began to wilt in the final eighth of a mile.

“A top class horse brought to the very peak of condition,” Les wrote. “He may go down as one of the all-time greats. My opinion: He would have beaten American Pharoah or California Chrome if each was on their best day. Comparable, perhaps, to Seattle Slew.”

I share this because there are two important lessons to take away:

First, I fell into a common trap. Horseplayers have to be contrarians to some extent and look for weaknesses in heavy favorites. But they also have to recognize when there really aren’t any, particularly when high-class horses are involved.

Second, Les sets an example for us all through his diligence in reviewing races. The rewards for doing so extend beyond quantifying greatness. They also will fatten your wallet.

#RJhorseracing featured races

Our team of handicappers hops back onto the Triple Crown trail by tackling the Holy Bull Stakes (Grade 2) at Gulfstream Park and the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (Grade 3) at Santa Anita, both of which will be contested Saturday at 1 1/16th miles.

Eleven runners are suited up for the Holy Bull, led by 3-1 morning line favorite Enticed, winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (Grade 2) at Churchill Downs in his last start.

That was more than two months ago, though, and our crew thinks he may need a race. They favor Audible (6-1), Free Drop Billy (6-1) and Mississippi (5-1).

At my peril, I’ll go a different direction: Pony Up (8-1), who is in sharp form but switches from turf to dirt for trainer Todd Pletcher.

In the Robert B. Lewis Stakes, the crowd ’cappers foresee another mild upset, with Shivermetimbers (7-2) holding off 3-1 favorite Peace and distant third-place finisher Inscom (6-1).

This week’s featured comment comes from Tim Lubeck, who said the group’s top pick “won’t get stopped this time,” referring to trouble in the upper stretch in his last race, the Sham Stakes (Grade 3). He added, “Give Peace a chance” while picking him third, a quip that demands recognition.

I like Shivermetimbers as well, but I’ll put my money on Inscom, another turf-to-dirt switcher coming off a big effort.

Join us next week by emailing me or searching for the #RJhorseracing hashtag on Twitter.

Mike Brunker’s horse racing column appears Friday. He can be reached at mbrunker@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-4656. Follow @mike_brunker on Twitter.

ad-high_impact_4
Sports Betting Spotlight Videos
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Football Week 4
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and The Cromwell sports book director, John Lukasik go over their picks for week four of college football.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 3
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and The Cromwell sports book director, John Lukasik go over their picks for week three of the NFL.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Canelo vs. GGG
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and The Linq Hotel sports book director, John Lukasik go over the lines and their picks for Canelo vs. GGG 2.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Football Week 3
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and The Linq Hotel sports book director, John Lukasik go over their picks for week three of college football.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 2
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and The Linq Hotel sports book director, John Lukasik go over their picks for week two of the NFL.
Sports Betting Spotlight: NFL Week 1
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Matt Holt go over their picks for week one of the NFL.
Sports Betting Spotlight: College Week 2
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and USIntegrity president Matt Holt goes over their picks for week two of college football.
Sports Betting Spotlight: New York Giants
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito go over the lines for the 2018 New York Giants season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: New York Giants
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito go over the lines for the 2018 New York Giants season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Buffalo Bills
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito go over the lines for the 2018 Buffalo Bills season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: New York Jets
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito go over the lines for the 2018 New York Jets season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Miami Dolphins
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito go over the lines for the 2018 Miami Dolphins season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Atlanta Falcons
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Wynn Sports Book Director Johnny Avello go over how the Atlanta Falcons will perform in the 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Carolina Panthers
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Wynn Sports Book Director Johnny Avello go over how the Carolina Panthers will perform in the 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: New England Patriots
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Sunset Station sports book director Chuck Esposito go over the lines for the 2018 New England Patriots season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Description: Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Wynn Sports Book Director Johnny Avello go over how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will perform in the 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: New Orleans Saints
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Wynn Sports Book Director Johnny Avello go over how the New Orleans Saints will perform in the 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Houston Texans
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Wynn Sports Book Director Johnny Avello go over how the Houston Texans will perform in the 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Tennessee Titans
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Wynn Sports Book Director Johnny Avello go over how the Titans will perform in the 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Indianapolis Colts
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Wynn Sports Book Director Johnny Avello go over how the Indianapolis Colts will perform in the 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Jacksonville Jaguars
Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and Wynn Sports Book Director Johnny Avello go over how the Jacksonville Jaguars will perform in the 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Detroit Lions
Sports Betting Spotlight host Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and CG Analytics Oddsmaker Will Bernanke go over the odds for the Detroit Lions 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Chicago Bears
Sports Betting Spotlight host Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and CG Analytics Oddsmaker Will Bernanke go over the odds for the Chicago Bears 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Green Bay Packers
Sports Betting Spotlight host Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and CG Analytics Oddsmaker Will Bernanke go over the odds for the Green Bay Packers 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Minnesota Vikings
Sports Betting Spotlight host Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and CG Analytics Oddsmaker Will Bernanke go over the odds for the Minnesota Vikings 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Cleveland Browns
Sports Betting Spotlight host Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and CG Analytics Oddsmaker Will Bernanke go over the odds for the Cleveland Browns 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Pittsburgh Steelers
Sports Betting Spotlight host Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and CG Analytics Oddsmaker Will Bernanke go over the odds for the Pittsburgh Steelers 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Cincinnati Bengals
Sports Betting Spotlight host Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and CG Analytics Oddsmaker Will Bernanke go over the odds for the Cincinnati Bengals 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Baltimore Ravens
Sports Betting Spotlight host Todd Dewey, Kelly Stewart and CG Analytics Oddsmaker Will Bernanke go over the odds for the Baltimore Ravens 2018 season.
Sports Betting Spotlight: Arizona Cardinals
Todd Dewey, Johnny Avello and Kelly Stewart go over the odds for the Arizona Cardinals upcoming season.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like