Gun Runner is the heavy 4-5 favorite for Saturday's $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream Park.
Drawing the No. 10 post in the 12-horse field, Gun Runner will be racing for the final time before retirement. He has won four consecutive starts, all of them Grade 1 events, and will almost certainly be picked as Horse of the Year when the Eclipse Awards are announced Thursday night.
Horses that start at least that far from the rail in distance events at Gulfstream are winning at only about an 8 percent clip this season. Then again, none of those starters was of Gun Runner's caliber.
“I've always said you don't know to complain about a post position until after a race is run,” Gun Runner trainer Steve Asmussen said after Wednesday's draw. “So it might work out perfectly for him. The horse is doing extremely well, in the capable hands of (jockey) Florent Geroux, and hopefully we'll have a big day Saturday and send the 2017 Horse of the Year out on top.”
Sharp Azteca is the second choice in the morning line, at 6-1. Collected and West Coast are both 8-1.
“If you drew it up on paper and tried to make the race as fair as you possibly could, I think you've got speed on the inside, speed in the middle and speed on the outside,” said Ron Paolucci, who owns Sharp Azteca and fellow Pegasus entry War Story. “It's going to be a real rider's race going into that first turn. That's going to be the whole thing.”
The winner on Saturday earns a $7 million share of the purse.
Gulfstream Park is owned by The Stronach Group, which also owns Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park.
The field for the Pegasus, from the rail out: Singing Bullet, 30-1; West Coast, 8-1; Stellar Wind, 30-1; Sharp Azteca, 6-1; Collected, 8-1; Gunnevera, 15-1; Fear the Cowboy, 30-1; War Story, 25-1; Toast of New York, 20-1; Gun Runner, 4-5; Seeking the Soul, 25-1; Giant Expectations, 30-1.