Gun Runner, the Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm-owned colt who has made a career of finishing in the money, is the 4-5 favorite in a field of eight for Saturday’s $500,000, Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs.
Gun Runner has not raced since finishing second to Arrogate in the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 25.
The 4-year-old Steve Asmussen trainee will break from post position No. 3 on Saturday night. Gun Runner has won seven of his 14 career starts, with three seconds and two thirds. He scored one of those victories in his most recent appearance at the Louisville racetrack in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap last Nov. 25. That was Gun Runner’s only Grade 1 win in six career attempts. He was third in the 2016 Kentucky Derby and in last year’s Travers Stakes.
“We’re very excited to run him Saturday night,” Asmussen said. “We gave him a break after he ran in Dubai and he’s been training smoothly ever since.”
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Gun Runner’s top challengers Saturday are expected to be Todd Pletcher’s Stanford (5-1) along with Bird Song (6-1) and Honorable Duty (6-1), who finished first and second in the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes on this year’s Kentucky Oaks undercard. Breaking Lucky, who ran second to Gun Runner in the Clark is also back for the Stephen Foster and is listed at 8-1 on the morning line.
The Stephen Foster is one of five graded stakes at Churchill on Saturday night, joining the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Handicap and Wise Dan Stakes, the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes and Regret Stakes.
First post is 6 p.m.
Stephen Foster Handicap
What: $500,000, Grade 1 stakes race for 3-year-olds and up
Where: Churchill Downs
When: 9:43 p.m. Saturday (Eighth race)
Distance: 1 1/8 miles
Stephen Foster field