Nash Arrives in New Orleans, Breezes Ahead of Likely Next Start in Gun Runner
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Kevin Kilroy
Notes Writer/Media Relations
Sharp drills from Gun Runner-nominees Footprint and Snead
New Orleans, La (Dec. 15, 2023) – Having breezed twice at Churchill Downs since his last race, Godolphin’s homebred Nash made his first morning appearance at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on Friday, Dec 15. Going five furlongs solo in 1:01.60 with Florent Geroux up, the Brad Cox trainee’s time ranked seventh fastest of 49 morning workers going that distance. The Cox barn reports Nash is the most likely of the seven nominated stablemates to enter the $100,000 Gun Runner on Saturday Dec. 23.
On Nov. 12 at Churchill going 1 1/16 miles, Nash utilized his commanding speed and powerful homestretch stride to break his maiden by over 10-lengths with Florent Geroux on board. The son of Medaglia d’Oro earned a 97 Brisnet Speed figure for his second-asking win.
Cox saddled the 2022 Gun Runner winner, Jace’s Road, who went on to earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby 149 starting gates. Godolphin’s Pretty Mischievous won the 2022 Untapable ahead of being crowned the Kentucky Oaks victress.
On Saturday, Dec. 23, the Road to the Derby Kickoff Day will feature eight stakes, including the 3rd running of the Gun Runner and the $100,000 Untapable Stakes for fillies going 1 mile 70 yards. Both stakes award 10-5-3-2-1 points as the final 2-year-old Kentucky Derby and Oaks prep races of the calendar year. Post positions for the Dec. 23 card, which also includes the Sugar Bowl, Letellier, Tenacious, Richard R. Scherer Memorial, Blushing KD, and Buddy Diliberto Memorial Stakes will be drawn on Saturday, Dec. 16. First post is scheduled for noon CT.
The respective barns of Nash, Footprint, and Next Level report each are likely to enter the Gun Runner for the final start of their freshman campaign.
Gun Runner-nominee Footprint breezed five furlongs on Friday morning for trainer Ken McPeek, his second local work since shipping to Fair Grounds after his second-place finish on Churchill’s Stars of Tomorrow II card. Going five furlongs, the son of Dialed In was clocked at 1:01.20, which was the fifth fastest of 49 workers at that distance.
Footprint was beaten by 1 3/4 lengths last out by fellow Gun Runner-nominee Lagynos in an allowance race going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Greg McDonald’s homebred broke his maiden on debut at Keeneland this fall.
McPeek reports that Footprint will enter the Gun Runner and that his stablemate Northern Flame is unlikely.
On Friday morning, Snead put in his second work since his 7-length victory in an allowance race on Nov. 23 at Fair Grounds. Eight days after breezing 1/2 miles in 49.80, the son of Nyquist breezed five furlongs in 1:02 flat, which was the eleventh fastest time of 49 workers going that distance.
Imagine Racing and Margaret Fauber’s Snead also has a win over Churchill’s main track and is trained by Brendan Walsh, who campaigned the 2023 Kentucky Oaks winner Pretty Mischievous at Fair Grounds, including winning the Untapable Stakes on the 2022 Road to the Derby Kickoff card.
Having nominated Snead for the Gun Runner, Walsh reported that with this Friday morning work in mind, he is still thinking over whether or not he will enter him in Saturday’s stake.
About Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots
Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, one of the nation’s oldest racetracks, has been in operation since 1872. Located in New Orleans, LA, Fair Grounds, which is owned by Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN), also operates a slot-machine gaming facility and 16 off-track betting parlors throughout Southeast Louisiana. The 152nd Thoroughbred Racing Season–highlighted by the 111th running of the Louisiana Derby–will run from Nov. 17, 2023 through March 24, 2024. More information is available online at www.fgno.com.