Gun Runner Wins $16 Million Pegasus World Cup in Final Race
The starting spot was not favorable in post No. 10. But jockey Florent Geroux got Gun Runner to break from the gate beautifully. The 2017 Horse of the Year was racing for the final time, and Gun Runner went into retirement in style Saturday at Gulfstream Park, pulling away in the stretch and winning the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational by 2 ½ lengths over West Coast.
“Just so proud of the horse,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “What a dream come true he is.”
Gun Runner looked strong as he worked up the backstretch, striding out to maintain position behind Collected. Gun Runner took over on the far turn, and he simply extended himself in the stretch at the request of Geroux. It was 13 lengths further back to 3rd place finisher Gunnevera, showing the dominance Gun Runner displayed as champion again, finishing the 1 1/8 mile race in 1:47.41. He returned $4.20 on a $2 win wager as the heavy 4-5 favorite.
“There’s no other horse like him,” Geroux said after the race.
Gun Runner will retire with nearly $16 million in earnings after picking up the $7 million top-prize in the Pegasus. Only the now-retired Arrogate — Gun Runner’s top rival in 2017 and the winner of the inaugural Pegasus a year ago — won more money in his career.
“He’s improved with every opportunity that he got,” Asmussen said. “Even when he didn’t have success, he moved forward from it. He’s just a special individual and we’re so blessed to be in his presence.”
On a day when Gulfstream saw bettors wager nearly $42 million, the Stronach Group, creators of the Pegasus World Cup, saw wagering up 4.4 percent from Pegasus day a year ago.
Gun Runner completed his career winning five-straight Grade 1 races with his last two victories in the biggest events, the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic and $16 million Pegasus World Cup.