Gun Runner Headlines Woodward Stakes from Saratoga on NBC Sports, 9/2
Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm's 4-year-old Gun Runner will be the dominant presence in the $750,000 Woodward STAKES from Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., this Saturday, September 2 at 6 p.m. ET., on the live NBCSN telecast of "Breeders' Cup Challenge Series: Win and You're In - Presented by Lane's End Farm and America's Best Racing."
Saturday's one-hour "Summer at Saratoga" program, the third show this year at the historic upstate New York track, will also include live coverage of the seven-furlong Spinaway STAKES for 2-year-fillies, which will award the winner with the first automatic starting berth into this year's 14 Hands Winery Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.
The Woodward telecast is the ninth of 11 telecasts in the "Breeders' Cup Challenge Series: Win and You're In, presented by Lane's End Farm and America's Best Racing," on NBC and NBCSN, featuring 17 "Win And You're In" races plus other major STAKES on the road to the Breeders' Cup World Championships, November 3-4, at Del Mar, which will also be televised by NBC Sports Group. Saturday's show also will be streamed live on NBCSports.com and on the NBC Sports app. Winners of these Challenge races, which combined offer more than $10 million in purses, automatically qualify for a spot in the Breeders' Cup.
Saturday's program will be hosted by Randy Moss, who will be joined by analyst and Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, reporter Britney Eurton, and Daily Racing Form's Matt Bernier as the handicapper.
Gun Runner, the No. 1 ranked North American horse in the latest NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll, comes into the 1 1/8-mile Woodward off magnificent back-to-back victories in two "Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" races. The front running chestnut son of Candy Ride, trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Florent Geroux, qualified for the Breeders' Cup Classic when he won the Stephen Foster Handicap on June 17 at Churchill Downs by a widening seven lengths. He has since surged to the top of the Classic division this summer with the combination of a commanding 5 ¼-length victory in the Whitney (G1) at Saratoga on August 5, and with Breeders' Cup Classic winner Arrogate's back-to-back losses at Del Mar in the San Diego Handicap and the TVG Pacific Classic. Gun Runner is 9-for-16 lifetime. His only defeat in four starts this year came in the Dubai World Cup at Meydan in March, when he was passed by Arrogate in deep stretch and finished second.
Gunner Runner is slated to face four rivals in the Woodward, two of whom are trained by Todd Pletcher: Starlight Racing and Qatar Racing's 4-year-old Neolithic and Paul Pompa's Rally Cry. Neolithic, ridden by Jose Ortiz, was third to Arrogate in both the Pegasus World Cup (GI) in January at Gulfstream Park and Dubai World Cup (GI) at Meydan in March. Neolithic prepped for the Woodward with a victory in a 1 1/8-mile allowance optional claiming race on Aug. 5. Rally Cry, a 4-year-old son of 2010 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Uncle Mo, won the 1 1/8-mile Alydar STAKES at Saratoga by 8 ¾ lengths on Aug. 6. Loooch Racing Stables, Glenn Ellis and Imaginary Stable's 5-year-old War Story won the Brooklyn Handicap at Belmont Park and was fourth in the Whitney for trainer Jorge Navarro. War Story will be ridden by Saratoga's leading jockey Jose Ortiz. Completing the Woodward field is Discreet Lover, fifth in the Whitney, who is owned and trained by Uriah St. Lewis, and will be ridden by Manny Franco.
In the Spinaway, Pure Silver, owned and bred by Twin Creek Racing Stable, is undefeated and untested in three starts for trainer Todd Pletcher, and enters off an eye-catching 9 ½-length win in Saratoga's Adirondack STAKES on August 12. The 2-year-old New York-bred daughter of Mission Impazible won her debut at Belmont Park in June then took the Lynbrook STAKES there in July.
Klaravich Stable's Separation of Powers rates as the main danger for trainer Chad Brown off her devastating 11 ¾-length debut win in Saratoga on July 30. The daughter of Candy Ride (ARG) was bet down to 9-5 and led every step of the way and could hook up early with Pure Silver, as neither has ever been behind a horse at the pace call in any of their four combined starts.
About Breeders' Cup The Breeders' Cup administers the Breeders' Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing's year-end Championships. The Breeders' Cup also administers the Breeders' Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2017 Breeders' Cup World Championships, consisting of 13 Grade I races with purses and awards totaling more than $28 million, will be held November 3-4 at the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. The Breeders' Cup culminates with the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic, which was rated No. 1 in the world in the final 2016 Longines World's Best Horse Race rankings. Breeders' Cup press releases appear on the Breeders' Cup Web site, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders' Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.