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Barn Notes: Friday, February 2


•              Geroux Reflects On Time With Horse Of The Year Gun Runner

•              Mar. 11 LaCombe Next For Thursday Allowance Winner Kabella 

•              Finley’sluckycharm Could Point To Mar. 11 Nelson J. Menard 



With 2017 Horse of the Year and Grade I Pegasus World Cup victor Gun Runner’s racing career in the rearview mirror, jockey Florent Geroux took some time to talk about what the horse meant to his riding career and how special he really was.

Geroux began riding Gun Runner at the beginning of his 3-year-old campaign, which began with wins in the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby, both Gr. II events at the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Since then, he guided the champion in every race he ran which included six Grade I victories – the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs in Nov. 2016, the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on Jun. 17, Saratoga’s Whitney Handicap (Aug. 5) and Woodward Stakes (Sept. 2), the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar on Nov. 4 and last Saturday’s Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park.

“He has a desire of winning races,” Geroux said. “He is a very talented horse form the beginning and it got better with age. I’m glad that I was on his back for all of his big wins. It was very exciting. (I was) even money in the richest race in the world, but before the race you just have to focus on your horse. You’re not counting money or big purses or stuff like that. You just need to let him be where the horse wants to be.”

In the beginning stages of Gun Runner’s swan song, Geroux did just that. Coming out of the gate, he immediately crossed right over from post ten to the inside to get him a favorable position up front, where he sat just off of pacesetter Collected.

“Going a mile and an eighth at Gulfstream with an outside post can be very tricky,” Geroux said. “Horses can get hung very wide going into the first turn and so it was very important to get a good start and I tried to cross over if I could.”

Following the Pegasus World Cup, Gun Runner shipped to Three Chimneys Farm in Kentucky, where he will begin a new career as a stallion. Geroux paid him a visit at the farm to see how he had acclimated to his new life.

“The horse had just shipped over there and I just wanted to see how he came back from his race,” Geroux said. “I wanted to see how he adjusted to his new life at the farm. All of the people at the farm said that he was feeling very good and excellent condition and came out of the race in very good shape.

“I went to see him (at Three Chimneys Farm) after the Breeders’ Cup and he looked just as good after the Pegasus World Cup as he did after the Breeders’ Cup Classic,” Geroux added. “That’s what made him so special, he was so consistent throughout his racing career just because he was coming back from the races in great shape and has been in great care. He’s just always been a very healthy horse.”

While Saturday proved to be quite an incredible day for Geroux, the excitement did not end there. The following day, he shipped to Sam Houston to ride Tiger Moth to victory the Gr. III Houston Ladies Classic.

“It was definitely a big weekend,” Geroux said. “Tiger Moth ran well last year and she was already a graded stakes winner and we were excited with her. We thought we had a good chance coming into the race but to win it was another thing and she was going to make it happen.”



Following a victory against winners for the first time on Thursday afternoon, Kabella will point to the $50,000 Allen LaCombe Overnight Stakes on Mar. 10 according to trainer Steve Margolis.

“That’s logical,” Margolis said. “We’re going to point for that race. At first, I didn’t know if I would even run her back because she ran such a hard race when she won. The family is improving and I was fortunate to get her. (Owners Robert and Lawanna Low) have been great; we’ve trained for them for about eight years.”

The 3-year-old daughter of Kitten’s Joy broke her maiden at fourth asking last time out over the Fair Grounds’ Stall-Wilson Turf Course on Jan. 7. Her dam, Zapper Belle, won the Pago Hop Stakes in 2012 at the Fair Grounds and is out of the Grade I winning broodmare Capote Belle. Both the dam and granddam of Kabella were owned by Robert and Lawanna Low.



Carl R. Moore’s Finley’sluckycharm worked five furlongs on Friday morning over the Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots main track and could make her next start in the $50,000 Nelson J. Menard Memorial Overnight Stakes on Mar. 11, according to trainer Bret Calhoun.

The 5-year-old daughter of Twirling Candy covered the five-eighths distance in 1:00.20, which was the third fastest of the 48 moves at the distance.

“She worked great, she’s been training great,” Calhoun said. “Today was a very good work and it looks like she’s close to ready.”

Calhoun also stated that the $125,000 Spring Fever at Oaklawn Park on Mar. 3 is possibility for Finley’sluckycharm.

“Those are the two most likely spots right now,” Calhoun said.

Other notable works on Friday morning include the Mark Casse-trained duo of Wonder Gadot and Heavenly Love. Both 3-year-old fillies worked half miles over the Fair Grounds main track and finished a respective second and fifth in last month’s Silverbulletday Stakes.

Owned by Debby Oxley, Heavenly Love’s half-mile drill was the fastest of 68 works at the distance and was  completed in :47.00. Her Gary Barber-owned stable mate recorded her work in :48.60. Assistant trainer David Carroll reported that both fillies are still on target for the Gr. II $200,000 Rachel Alexandra on Feb. 17, which is the second of three local preps on Churchill Downs’ Road To The Kentucky Oaks and awards the Top 4 finishers based off of a 50-20-10-5 scale.