Gun Runner Headed to Stallion Duty After Pegasus World Cup Invitational

Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Gun Runner will enter stud at Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky after his planned final start next January in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational, the colt’s owners announced Tuesday.

Gun Runner will be available for viewing at Three Chimneys Farm from Wednesday through Friday and will then be shipped to trainer Steve Asmussen’s barn to prepare for the Pegasus Jan. 27 at Gulfstream Park, according to a statement released by the farm.

He is slated to return to Three Chimneys Farm for the 2018 breeding season after the race, according to the statement.

Gun Runner’s connections had been tight-lipped about his racing future immediately after his win last Saturday in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“We are very excited to have him join the stallion roster, and we will be committing our best mares to him, including the dams of Twirling Candy and La Verdad, and G1 winners Stopcharging Maria, Pure Clan, and Malibu Prayer, to name a few,” Gun Runner’s co-owner, Goncalo Torrealba said in the statement.

Gun Runner — who is out of Candy Ride and Quiet Giant — has 11 wins, three seconds and two thirds in 18 races.

Gun Runner’s other wins include the Grade 1 Stephen Foster, Whitney and Woodward and the Grade 3 Razorback this year, along with the Grade 1 Clark Handicap and the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby and Risen Star during his 3-year-old campaign last year.

Co-owner Ron Winchell called the 4-year-old colt “the horse of a lifetime,” and said “his consistency, soundness and race recovery are comparable to none” and “should serve him well as a stallion.”

Gun Runner was ranked #1 in the National Thoroughbred Racing Association’s final Top Thoroughbred Poll of the year, with Asmussen saying after the Breeders’ Cup Classic victory that he thinks Gun Runner is “undoubtedly the Horse of the Year.”

In other developments since the Breeders’ Cup:

— Breeders’ Cup Distaff runner Stellar Wind sold for $6 million to M.V. Magnier at the Keeneland 2017 November Breeding Stock Sale. She won the Eclipse Award for champion 3-year-old filly in 2015, and wrapped up her racing career with 10 wins, two seconds and a third in 16 starts.

Her longtime trainer, John Sadler, said he was “absolutely” going to miss the 5-year-old mare, who is out of Curlin.

“I’m going to miss her like a child,” he said last week as Stellar Wind’s racing career was nearing an end. “She’s been very close to my heart for three years now. It’s going to be a little sad when she goes, but she’s going on to her next career, which we anticipate great things from that also.”

— Also going to Magnier was the two-time Eclipse Award-winning grass mare Tepin, who sold for $8 million at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale 2017.

— Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Finest City — who won the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint last year — sold for $1.5 million at the Fasig-Tipton sale to Katsumi Yoshida of Northern Farm in Japan.

Songbird, a two-time Eclipse Award-winning filly, fetched the highest price — $9.5 million from Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm LLC. She paid a record $10 million in 2012 for Horse of the Year Havre de Grace.

Arrogate, who won the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic, has settled in at Juddmonte Farms in Lexington, Ky., after retiring from racing with more than $17 million in earnings and victories in seven of his 11 starts, including the Pegasus World Cup and the Dubai World Cup earlier this year.

— A number of Breeders’ Cup-winning horses could be pointed to campaigns next year, their trainers said at post-Breeders’ Cup news conferences. They include Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Forever Unbridled, whose owner is considering a run in the Pegasus next year; Talismanic, whose connections say his Breeders’ Cup Turf victory opens up a lot of international options for the 4-year-old colt out of Medaglia d’Oro; and Breeders’ Cup Mile winner World Approval, a 5-year-old gray/roan gelding out of Northern Afleet.

Shortly after World Approval won his fifth of six starts this year, trainer Mark Casse said, “It’s funny because everything we do, starting tomorrow morning, will be pointing for the next Breeders’ Cup … We’re always looking ahead. Whether it’s with World Approval, hopefully he’ll be back next year to do it again.”