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Gun Runner the overwhelming favorite for $16 million Pegasus

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (AP) Gun Runner is the overwhelming 4-5 favorite for Saturday’s $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park.

Gun Runner drew the No. 10 post in the 12-horse field, and will be racing for the final time before retirement. He has won four consecutive starts, all of them Grade 1 events, and will almost certainly be picked as Horse of the Year when the Eclipse Awards are announced Thursday night.

Sharp Azteca is the second choice in the morning line, at 6-1. Collected and West Coast are both 8-1.

The winner on Saturday earns a $7 million share of the purse.

The field for the Pegasus, from the rail out: Singing Bullet, 30-1; West Coast, 8-1; Stellar Wind, 30-1; Sharp Azteca, 6-1; Collected, 8-1; Gunnevera, 15-1; Fear the Cowboy, 30-1; War Story, 25-1; Toast of New York, 20-1; Gun Runner, 4-5; Seeking the Soul, 25-1; Giant Expectations, 30-1.

3 jockeys, 3 trainers and 4 thoroughbreds finalists for HOF

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) Jockeys Robby Albarado, Corey Nakataki and Craig Perret are among 10 finalists on the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame ballot.

Also on the ballot released Thursday were thoroughbreds Blind Luck, Gio Ponti, Havre de Grace and Heavenly Prize, and trainers Mark Casse, John Shirreffs and David Whiteley.

Votes from two-thirds of the nominating committee were necessary to qualify as finalists and the rule capping the number of inductees at four has been eliminated.

Hall of Fame ballots will be mailed to the voting panel on March 1. Results of the voting on the contemporary candidates will be announced April 16. Those who receive a majority of the votes will be elected.

The induction ceremony will be held at the Fasig-Tipton Sales pavilion in Saratoga Springs on Aug. 3.

Texts reveal extent of doping scandal in Aussie horse racing

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MELBOURNE, Australia — A newspaper has revealed text messages between a leading trainer and stable staff involved in a doping scandal that resulted in eight persons being charged and may have included the 2015 Melbourne Cup, Australia’s richest and most prestigious horse race.

The Herald Sun in Melbourne said Wednesday the texts, uncovered by integrity investigators, detailed conversations over the alleged administration of illegal doses of performance-enhancing sodium bicarbonate in a practice known as “tubing” just before a race.

The newspaper said the most explosive text came on the eve of the 2015 Melbourne Cup where a trainer and stable hand discussed using “top-ups,” allegedly a reference to a mix of prohibited substances often administered within minutes of competition.

The stable hand responds that he’ll need a “wheelbarrow” to carry them all after the trainer requests the top-up. He then adds: “I’ll be walking funny, got two Cup horses as well.”

The eight persons charged last month face 271 offenses since 2010.

“The Integrity Services Department and our stewards have worked swiftly to fully investigate these matters resulting in the laying of charges,” Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson said when the charges were announced in January.