Gun Runner wins Louisiana Derby

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) Gun Runner punched his ticket for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, pulling away for a commanding victory in the Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds.

The Steve Asmussen-trained Gun Runner already had a qualifying spot secured thanks to his victory in the Risen Star here last month, but he was the 7-2 third-choice behind local favorite Mo Tom and Champagne Stakes winner Greenpointcrusader.

Gun Runner stayed near the lead until the top of the stretch when he found an opening near the rail and was unchallenged over the final yards under a strong ride by meet-leading jockey Florent Geroux, to pick up 100 Derby qualifying points.

Gun Runner, owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farms, paid $9.80, $5.40 and $3.60.

Tom’s Ready, one of two entries owned by Gayle Benson, wife of New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson was second, and Dazzling Gem third. Tom’s Ready earned 40 points, and Dazzling Gem 20.

The other Benson entry, Mo Tom, was fourth, picking up 10 points to go along with the 22 he earned in earlier races.

Pegasus on Jan. 28, Florida Derby on April 1 at Gulfstream

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. — Gulfstream Park announced the schedule for the 2022-23 Championship Meet, highlighted by the $3 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational on Jan. 28.

Also on Pegasus day: The $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, as well as the $500,000 Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

Gulfstream’s top Kentucky Derby prep race, the $1 million Florida Derby, will be run on April 1 as part of a card with 10 stakes races. Other top 3-year-old preps at Gulfstream in early 2023 include the $150,000 Mucho Macho Man on Jan. 1, the $250,000 Holy Bull on Feb. 4 and the $400,000 Fountain of Youth on March 4.

The Pegasus is returning for a seventh time. The format has changed several times in the race’s infancy; the purse structure for the Pegasus World Cup no longer requires owners to put up $1 million apiece for a spot in the starting gate for what was, at its inception, the world’s richest race with a purse that reached $16 million.

This much has remained constant: Winning the Pegasus changes a horse’s resume. No Pegasus winner has ever finished worse than sixth in the yearlong earnings among North American horses, and two past winners – Arrogate and Gun Runner – are two of the three highest-earning thoroughbreds in U.S. history.

Gulfstream’s Championship Meet runs from Dec. 26 through April 2, featuring 60 stakes races, 35 of them graded, and worth a combined $13.6 million.

Stradivarius, 3-time Ascot Gold Cup winner, retired to stud

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LONDON – Stradivarius, one of the most famous racehorses in Britain and Ireland after winning the Gold Cup at Ascot three times, has been retired to stud.

Bjorn Nielsen, the owner of Stradivarius, said he felt it would be unfair to make the horse come back next season as a 9-year-old after time away with a bruised foot.

“It has been a fairytale from start to finish,” Nielsen told British newspaper The Racing Post.

Stradivarius, bred in Ireland and the son of Sea The Stars, won 20 of his 35 races – including seven Group One races – and earned almost 3.5 million pounds (now $3.8 million) in prize money.

Stradivarius won four Goodwood Cups, three Yorkshire Cups and two Doncaster Cups.