Home of the Louisiana Derby

Barn Notes: Saturday, March 25

                                                                                     

·        Gun Runner Second in Dubai World Cup

·        Girvin and Farrell Have Final Works

·        Arklow Switching Gears

·        Senior Investment Getting Used to First Place

GUN RUNNER SECOND IN DUBAI WORLD CUP

Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys’ Farm’s Gun Runner finished second in this morning’s Group I $10,000,000 Dubai World Cup. Ridden by Florent Geroux for 13-time leading local Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots trainer Steve Asmussen, the locally trained 2016 Louisiana Derby winner was coming off a win in his seasonal bow in the Grade III $500,000 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn.

Gun Runner tracked the early pace and assumed command of the lead nearing the top of the stretch but was unable to repel the rally of Arrogate. That 4-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song was pinched badly at the start and taken out of his typical, forward running style when relegated to last early, but his methodical rally under jockey Mike Smith proved his worth as the world’s top-ranked racehorse when scoring while geared down in the final sixteenth of a mile.

GIRVIN AND FARRELL HAVE FINAL WORKS

On Saturday morning, Brad Grady’s Girvin and Coffeepot Stables’ Farrell each had their final drills for their respective big races on Apr. 1. Each possible favorites on the merits of winning the major preps — the Grade II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes and Grade II $200,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes, respectively — they each had maintenance drills over Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots’ main surface.

The likely favorite for the Grade II $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks, Wayne Catalano-trained Farrell worked a half-mile in 49.20.

Joe Sharp-conditioned Girvin, who will garner a great deal of respect at the windows in the Grade II $1,000,000 Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby, worked five furlongs in 1:01 flat with Rosie Napravnik in the saddle.

ARKLOW SWITCHING GEARS

Donegal Racing’s Arklow will get some class relief after a couple ambitious placings in graded stakes company, including a top effort to finish a gaining fourth in the Grade III $200,000 Lecomte Stakes on Jan. 21. The son of Arch exits a lackluster eighth in the Grade II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes on Feb. 25, which ended the Brad Cox trainees Kentucky Derby dreams.

Still a maiden, the maternal grandson of Empire Maker will seek easier company and conditions that appear to be more ideal for both his pedigree and disposition. A calm and collected disposition with a great deal of mass and leg to him, the galloping bay colt will aim toward a nine-furlong turf maiden at Keeneland.

“We are going to go in a race at Keeneland,” Donegal principal Jerry Crawford said. “I think it should suit him. It’s a mile and an eighth on the grass and I think he may run well. We still think he has a lot of talent.”

Called the Mucho Macho Man, the maiden event is worth $70,000 on Sunday, Apr. 9, and is the second race in the famous Lexington, Kentucky, track’s condition book.

“We still think he’s a good horse,” Cox added. “He ran good enough in the Lecomte to have a reason to go on to the Risen Star, but now that he didn’t run well there, I think we should break his maiden. I think he’ll really like the grass.”

SENIOR INVESTMENT GETTING USED TO FIRST PLACE

Though he has not been adjudged the victor in all three, Fern Circle Racing’s Senior Investment has crossed the line first in his previous triad of races for trainer Kenny McPeek. The son of Discreetly Mine broke his maiden going a mile and 70 yards at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on Dec. 26. He then was disqualified after closing form last-to-first in a first-level allowance going a mile on Jan. 27. Finishing ahead of next-out stakes-winning stablemate It’s Your Nickel, he was disqualified to seventh and last.

Unshaken, McPeek wheeled the leggy chestnut back on Feb. 18, shipped him up to Hot Springs, Ark., and won a 1 1/16-miles Oaklawn Park allowance by three widening lengths. In fact, in his last four starts, he has looked increasingly stronger and more professional, with his Equibase speed figures increasing 81-85-86-90 during that run.

Next up for Senior Investment is the Grade II $1,000,000 Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby for his multiple Grade I-winning conditioner.

“I really want to run him a mile and an eighth,” McPeek said. “Fair Grounds having one of the longest stretches in the country will be good for him and already having finished first twice already helps, as well.

“It’s kind of a no-brainer, if you think about it,” McPeek continued. “He’s really doing well and started to figure it all out. As a baby he had some throat issues and once we got those fixed, he’s come long nicely. I feel confident that he could sneak his way into the (Kentucky Derby) picture. He and (It’s Your Nickel) have more to prove.”