09/21/2016 2:06PM

Gun Runner looking fresh for Pennsylvania Derby

Barbara D. Livingston
Gun Runner, here at Saratoga with Florent Geroux, arrived at Parx on Tuesday for Saturday's Pennsylvania Derby.

BENSALEM, Pa. – Kentucky Derby one-two finishers Nyquist and Exaggerator were scheduled to arrive at Parx Racing on Wednesday afternoon for Saturday’s Grade 2, $1.25 million Pennsylvania Derby. Kentucky Derby third-place finisher Gun Runner beat them here by a day, vanning down from Saratoga on Tuesday.

Wednesday morning, Gun Runner galloped a mile over the Parx surface.

“His energy level is great, he’s bright, we’re really happy with the conditioning he’s maintained throughout the year,” said Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen.

:: PENNSYLVANIA DERBY: Get PPs, watch Saturday's card live

Following the Kentucky Derby, Gun Runner won the Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs and was training sensationally in Saratoga leading up to the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth. He caught a sloppy track that day and finished fifth, his second poor race over a wet track. Gun Runner then finished third in the Travers, beaten 15 lengths by Arrogate, who won by 13 1/2 lengths in a track-record time.

“I thought he was less tired after the Travers than after the Derby,” Blasi said. “His recovery time after the Travers was normal for him. I think he gets the mile and a quarter, it’s just that we hooked a freak that day.”

The Pennsylvania Derby is run at 1 1/8 miles, the distance of Gun Runner’s victory in the Louisiana Derby.

Gun Runner drew post 7 in the 12-horse field, which Blasi believes will give jockey Florent Geroux options with speed horses Awesome Slew, Summer Revolution, and Cupid drawn inside of him.