11/07/2017 5:35PM

Gun Runner headed to stud after Pegasus World Cup

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Barbara D. Livingston
Gun Runner will head to co-owner Three Chimneys Farm's stallion operation following his final race in the $16 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park.

Breeders' Cup Classic winner Gun Runner will enter stud next season at Three Chimneys Farm in Midway, Ky., his owners announced on Tuesday.

Plans call for Gun Runner, who races for Winchell Thoroughbreds and Goncalo Torrealba's Three Chimneys, in partnership, to make his final career start in next January's $16 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park before heading to Three Chimneys in time for the start of the Kentucky breeding season in mid-February. The same schedule was followed this year by two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome, who finished unplaced behind Arrogate in the inaugural Pegasus.

Following Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic at Del Mar, Gun Runner was shipped to Three Chimneys in order to be available for inspection by breeders during this month's breeding stock sales in Kentucky, which bring prominent domestic and international players to town. The Candy Ride colt will then re-join Steve Asmussen's string at the trainer's winter base in New Orleans to prepare for the Pegasus.

In a press release, Ron Winchell and Torrealba said they both plan to launch Gun Runner's stud career by supporting him with top mares from each of their respective broodmare bands. Torrealba, specifically, said that he will breed the dams of champion La Verdad and Grade 1 winner Twirling Candy to the young stallion, along with Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Stopchargingmaria and Grade 1 winners Malibu Prayer and Pure Clan. Twirling Candy is by Candy Ride, the sire of Gun Runner.

Gun Runner won 5 of 6 starts in a 2017 campaign that is expected to earn him Horse of the Year honors, with his only loss a runner-up effort when caught late by Arrogate in the Dubai World Cup. After returning from Dubai, Gun Runner ripped off Grade 1 victories in the Stephen Foster Handicap by seven lengths, Whitney by 5 1/4 lengths, Woodward by 10 1/4 lengths, and Classic by 2 1/4 lengths. Also the winner of last year's Grade 1 Clark Handicap, his career earnings stand at $8,988,500.

"I have been fortunate enough to own several great horses, but Gun Runner is clearly at the top of my list," Winchell said. "He is the horse of a lifetime. His brilliance was recognizable early and improved with every season. His consistency, soundness, and race recovery were comparable to none. These traits should serve him well as a stallion."

Gun Runner is out of the Grade 2-winning Giant's Causeway mare Quiet Giant, who is a half sister to 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam, Grade 3 winner Congessionalhonor, stakes winner Dance Quietly, Grade 1-placed Miss Besilu, Grade 2-placed American Dance, the dam of Grade 1 winner Buster's Ready, and to the dam of Grade 3 winner Lull.

Gun Runner has a chance to carry on what was the promising family line of Saint Liam, who stood only one season at stud before suffering a freak, fatal accident, breaking his leg after rearing while being led to his paddock. His lone crop of 98 foals included 10 stakes winners and another eight stakes-placed runners, led by 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace and graded stakes winners Buddy's Saint, Liam's Dream, and Upgrade.

"I am a big believer in top families, and with two Horses of the Year in his first two dams, one could make a case that there is no more active or relevant pedigree in the stud book today than that of Gun Runner," Torrealba said.

Gun Runner will be a major addition to the young stallion roster at Three Chimneys, which the Torrealba family bought into in 2012. Only two of the six stallions on the roster -- Sky Mesa and Caleb's Posse -- currently have foals of racing age. Champion Will Take Charge and Strong Mandate both have yearlings who were well received this sale season, while Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice and Fast Anna have their first weanlings this year.