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Fair Grounds Connections Fire at Breeder's Cup

Highlighted by Gun Runner’s dominating performance in Saturday’s Grade I $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic and Forever Unbridled’s win in the Grade I $2 million Breeder’s Cup Distaff, Fair Grounds connections took down the biggest prizes on both days at Del Mar this past weekend.

Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farms’ Gun Runner was sent to post as the second choice in Saturday’s Classic at 2.40-1 and found himself in front after a sharp break. Trained by 13-time Fair Grounds leading trainer Steve Asmussen and ridden by last season’s leading rider Florent Geroux, Gun Runner took the early pressure he faced from Collected in stride. The pair darted clear from the rest of the pack around the far turn, and Gun Runner was able to hold his pace for by  2¼ lengths at the wire for the richest score of the weekend, ensuring he will become the 2017 Horse of the Year.

Gun runner won both the Grade II Risen Star Stakes and the Grade II Louisiana Derby in New Orleans in 2016 before finishing third in the Kentucky Derby. His only loss in 2017 was a second-place finish behind Arrogate in the Dubai World Cup in March.

Just more than 24 hours earlier, New Orleans mainstay Dallas Stewart captured his second Breeders’ Cup Distaff as a trainer when Charles Fipke’s Forever Unbridled posted a deceptively easy score in Friday’s biggest race. Settled at the back of the field early under John Velazquez, Forever Unbridled made a sweeping move off the far turn to assume command in the stretch and was never seriously threatened thereafter, holding off a late run from the talented 3-year-old filly Abel Tasman.