Gun Runner the One to Beat in Razorback Handicap on President’s Day
Monday’s President’s Day holiday features the $500,000 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park, and Gun Runner looks poised to pounce as the 4-5 favorite breaking from the rail. Gun Runner prepped for the Grade III Razorback with a sizzling 59 4/5 second bullet over 5 furlongs, which followed several 6 furlong stamina building works in prep for his 2017 debut. Gun Runner, a Candy Ride (ARG) colt, has registered four consecutive triple-digit speed figures in his last four races, and is the clear favorite to win the 1 1/16 mile test as he launches his 4-year-old season.
Concern comes in the form of rain, as there is a 50% chance of precipitation in the forecast for Monday’s holiday racing at Oaklawn Park. Gun Runner was a well-beaten 5th in the Haskell invitational last summer, which was run on a sloppy track at Monmouth Park.
“There would be some discussion as to scratching him, for sure,” David Fiske, racing manager for Winchell Thoroughbreds who owns the colt, said should the Oaklawn track come up wet for the race. “But…he has to start somewhere. It may come down to that. So we’ll see”.
“He worked really well earlier in the week, he was smoking. I think he just did it on his own really and barring the weather and the track condition, we’re anticipating him running well” Fiske added.
Gun Runner has earned over $2 million in 12 career starts, winning six with four other in the money finishes. He won his last race, the Clark Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs Nov. 25 as the 2-1 favorite. In the 1 1/8 mile test, Gunner Runner went wire-to-wire while beating some top older horses like Noble Bird, Hoppertunity, Shaman Ghost and Effinex.
Gun Runner towers over the Razorback Handicap field, with the top contenders Blue Tone (9/2) and Domain’s Rap (6-1) looking to keep pace with Dazzling Gem (8-1) closing when they turn for home after he was caught in the deep stretch last out in the Louisiana Stakes. Blue Tone has shipped in from California and is the top front-running challenger having won the San Gabriel Stakes in on a sloppy track at Santa Anita. Nine-year-old Domain’s Rap is in great form and 5-for-7 over this surface while Hawaakom (10-1) placed in 8-of-11 races last year and won the Louisiana Stakes last month. He’s finished 5th behind Gun Runner in the Clark Handicap.
The Razorback Handicap is a prep race for the $750,000 Grade I Oaklawn Handicap on Easter weekend. It’s scheduled as race 7 with post time at 5:09 ET on Monday, Feb. 20.