Cov­er­age with con­tenders and odds,

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - Front Page - By Jay Priv­man Fol­low Jay Priv­man on Twit­ter @DRFPriv­man

ARCADIA, Calif. – Gun Run­ner ar­rived in Cal­i­for­nia nearly two weeks ago in ad­vance of the Breeders’ Cup, and he brought a whole ad­vance team with him.

Steve As­mussen’s top as­sis­tant, Scott Blasi, is over­see­ing Gun Run­ner’s daily prepa­ra­tion at Santa Anita to­ward the $6 mil­lion Breeders’ Cup Clas­sic on Nov. 4 at Del Mar. Ex­er­cise rider An­gel Gar­cia, groom Gabino Gu­tier­rez, and hot­walker Juan Gon­za­lez also have tem­po­rar­ily re­lo­cated to Cal­i­for­nia. And the horse Get­tys­burg was brought along as a work­mate for Gun Run­ner in his next two drills, both at Santa Anita.

Get­tys­burg, a win­ner of just 1 of 13 starts, is an in­ter­est­ing ad­di­tion to Gun Run­ner’s en­tourage. Now 4, he may be best re­mem­bered for be­ing trans­ferred by WinS­tar Farm to As­mussen from Todd Pletcher the week of the 2016 Belmont Stakes to act as a pace­maker for Creator, who was trained by As­mussen and owned by WinS­tar and Bobby Flay. Get­tys­burg did his job well, tak­ing just enough out of Destin in the early go­ing to en­able Creator to get up in the fi­nal jump.

Get­tys­burg has been with As­mussen ever since. He’s lost all five of his starts since that Belmont, but with value as an ex­cel­lent work horse, he re­cently was ac­quired by the team that owns Gun Run­ner – Winchell Thor­ough­breds and Three Chim­neys Farm – to act as a prompter in his next two work­outs.

“We’re not leav­ing it to chance at this stage,” As­mussen said this week at Santa Anita.

As­mussen cur­rently has his main string in Kentucky, but as usual he has Amer­i­can Air­lines on speed dial. He was at Santa Anita for Gun Run­ner’s work on Mon­day, he’ll be back for the next two works, and he’ll be bring­ing Florent Ger­oux, Gun Run­ner’s reg­u­lar jockey, along for those works. Both of those drills will be at Santa Anita and will be in com­pany.

Gun Run­ner’s fi­nal work, sched­uled for Oct. 30, five days be­fore the Clas­sic, will be at Del Mar, but As­mussen – who will be set­tled in Cal­i­for­nia by then, too – never makes that more than an easy breeze un­der the ex­er­cise rider. The se­ri­ous moves are the next two.

“We’ll be at Del Mar be­fore you know it,” As­mussen said.

Af­ter spend­ing the sum­mer at Saratoga, where he won the Whit­ney and the Wood­ward, Gun Run­ner had a brief stay at Churchill Downs be­fore head­ing to Santa Anita.

Gun Run­ner headed west early last year prior to run­ning in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, but that Breeders’ Cup was at Santa Anita. Even though this year’s races are at Del Mar and the Del Mar sta­ble area doesn’t open un­til Oct. 22, As­mussen thought it best to again get out to Cal­i­for­nia early.

“I wanted him out here to get him on the clock,” he said.

From all in­di­ca­tions, Gun Run­ner has set­tled in well for the race, which will de­cide Horse of the Year and cham­pion older dirt male. When he worked on Mon­day, all eyes were on him. In ad­di­tion to sev­eral train­ers in the stands or on the apron, there were four peo­ple on their ponies from the fin­ish line to the six­teenth pole, all in­tently fo­cused on Gun Run­ner, the only one hav­ing di­rect as­so­ci­a­tion with Gun Run­ner be­ing Blasi. Ev­ery­one else just wanted to watch.

Gun Run­ner looked fresh com­ing off the track, as if the work took noth­ing out of him.

“He’s got a re­siliency and qual­ity to him that’s re­ally ad­mirable,” As­mussen said as Gun Run­ner bounced through the pad­dock en route to the sta­ble area. “He’s kept a tremen­dous amount of con­fi­dence in him even when things haven’t gone his way.

“He walks into a room like he owns it. And he al­ways gives an ef­fort. Af­ter the Derby” – in which Gun Run­ner fin­ished third last year – “he came back to be un­sad­dled, and you could tell he had given an ef­fort, but you could not be­lieve it was the same horse an hour later. He bounces back. I’m so im­pressed with how this horse re­sponds.”

In other Clas­sic de­vel­op­ments:

◗ Breeders’ Cup of­fi­cials said that the lone Euro­pean who could run in the Clas­sic is War De­cree, trained by Ai­dan O’Brien. War De­cree, 3, is a colt by War Front who won a Group 3 on Poly­track at Dun­dalk in Ire­land on Sept. 29. O’Brien never has won the Clas­sic but fin­ished a close third with Dec­la­ra­tion of War, an­other son of War Front, in 2013 at Santa Anita.

◗ Ar­ro­gate, the de­fend­ing Clas­sic win­ner, worked five fur­longs at Santa Anita on Tues­day in 1:00.20.


Gun Run­ner, shown af­ter win­ning the Grade 1 Wood­ward last month, will breeze with sta­ble­mate Get­tys­burg at Santa Anita.

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