Gun Runner much the best in Louisiana Derby

Mar 27, 2016 Vance Hanson/

For the next seven days or so, Gun Runner sits atop the Kentucky Derby (G1) leader board after a scintillating 4 1/2-length victory in Saturday's $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2).

Settled in third by Florent Geroux as Candy My Boy set a pace of :23.54, :48.24, 1:12.94, Gun Runner saved ground to the far turn when he was moved off the inside to challenge for the lead. Drawing even with Candy My Boy turning for home, Gun Runner soon put that one away and darted clear to a strong victory in a time of 1:51.06 for 1 1/8 miles on a fast track.

Owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm, and trained by Steve Asmussen, Gun Runner paid $9.80 as the 7-2 third choice in a field of 10.

The Louisiana Derby was the first domestic prep in the Championship portion of the Road to the Kentucky Derby Series, and Gun Runner's 100-point windfall boosted his qualifying point total to 151, which puts him on top of the leader board. The next 100-point to the winner race in the series is the $1 million Florida Derby (G1) on April 2.

Gun Runner has now won four of five starts. After taking his first two outings in Kentucky last fall, he concluded his juvenile campaign with a fourth in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs. Earning one Derby qualifying point there, Gun Runner added another 50 last month when taking the Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds.

Tom's Ready, a 30-1 chance who had run second in the Lecomte (G2), fared better Saturday than he did in the Risen Star, where he was negatively impacted by an inside bias. Tom's Ready earned 40 points, while third-place finisher Dazzling Gem, who was making his stakes debut in the Louisiana Derby, earned 20 points.

Finishing fourth in the Louisiana Derby was 2-1 favorite Mo Tom, who was shut off attempting to rally up the inside in mid-stretch. He was also impeded in the stretch run of the Risen Star.

Owned by Tom and Gayle Benson, the same owners of Tom's Ready, Mo Tom earned 10 points Saturday to boost his total to 32.

(Alexander Barkoff/Hodges Photography

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