Woodward Stakes a Possibility for Gun Runner

On the heels of a 5 1/4-length victory in this past weekend’s $1.2 million Whitney Stakes (G1), Gun Runner’s connections are looking ahead to what is next, and that very well could be a start in the $750,000 Woodward Stakes (G1) at the Saratoga Race Course on September 2nd.

“He’s fabulous, happy with himself, came back great,” reported trainer Steve Asmussen on his Gun Runner’s condition following the Whitney Stakes.

“(I only noticed it) once he slowed down,” recalled Asmussen of his charge’s Whitney Stakes performance. “We watched the tape repeatedly, repeatedly, and if you’ve never seen anything before, just wait around. Can you believe that? I mean if we tried to throw one and stick in one’s tail as he was standing, still we’d go 0-for-1,000—let alone at a run, let alone Gun Runner, let alone in the Whitney—and it stayed. (With) how fast he was going, it was held out from him, when he slowed down to walk, then it came into him. We were obviously unaware of it until he came back to the winner’s circle, but not a nick on him. I mean, there’s still nails in it.”

The Whitney win was Gun Runner’s second straight grade one victory, and his fourth win in a row on North American Soil. Asmussen believes the Woodward Stakes will be the next race out for Gun Runner. “It seems very probable with him running over the racetrack here (and) not having to travel again,” said Asmussen. “It would be ideal.”

Can A Long Shot Take Down Frosted in the Woodward?

Bettors Banking on Favorite Frosted in Woodward

Frosted offers no value in Saturday’s Woodward Stakes at Saratoga, but that won’t stop bettors from lining up on the Tapit colt at 3-5 odds. Jockey Joel Rosaria has ridden Frosted since his 2015 win in the Twinspires.com Wood Memorial, and a win Saturday would be his seventh win and push his earnings over $4,000,000.

Clearly Frosted looks like he should win the Woodward, which is a softer field than his recent win in the Whitney Stakes over this track August 8. In fact, six of the last eight Woodward winners came out of the Whitney. And Frosted’s victory by better than 14 lengths in the Met Mile in June was a dominating performance. While Frosted did run second behind Triple Crown winner American Pharoah in last year’s Belmont Stakes, recall he finished fifth in the Dubai World Cup this year when California Chrome was best. The runner up in that race was Mubtaahij, who is now the 5-1 choice in the Woodward. His trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who also trains Frosted, believes Mubtaahij is ready to run a big race.

“I think he has improved since the Suburban,” McLaughlin said of Mubtaahij. “Since being here, he’s been doing really well. Irad feels like he knows him better now after riding him last time, (that he) learned a little something about him, so we’ll see how it goes. We think he’s going to run big.”

If you’re looking for a long shot, consider the trio below and consider in your exacta, trifecta and superfecta wagering.

Samraat (10-1) is a classy New York-bred who ran in both the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes in 2014 but was not healthy last year. He showed in his recent run in the Suburban that he’s back when nearly going wire-to-wire at 11-1 odds before beaten by a neck by Effinex. That was a mile and a quarter, so he may hold up here.

Breaking Lucky (20-1) gets our attention at long odds having finished in the money in his last six races over the past year and is one to include in the exotics. He’s run credibly on dirt in the past, and in his last three at Woodbine he’s run well including winning the Grade III Seagram Cup last out on Polytrack.with a stalk and pounce win at 1 1/16 miles.

Shaman Ghost (12-1) breaks from the rale having finished fifth in the Suburban last out at 3-1. He won the Brooklyn Invitational in June finishing ahead of Samraat that day. He’ll get Lasix for the first time and a new rider in Javier Castellano and is in good at an overlay.

Saratoga Race Course, Saturday, September 03, 2016, Race 10

  • 1 1/8m
  • Dirt
  • $600,000
  • 3 yo’s & up
  • 5:46 PM (local)
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L
1 1Shaman Ghost (ON) Javier Castellano 120 James A. Jerkens 12/1
2 2Breaking Lucky (ON) Luis Contreras 120 Reade Baker 20/1
3 3Frosted (KY) Joel Rosario 124 Kiaran P. McLaughlin 1/2
4 4Bradester (KY) Joe Bravo 122 Eddie Kenneally 6/1
5 5Catholic Cowboy (FL) Luis Saez 118 Nicholas P. Zito 20/1
6 6Samraat (NY) Jose L. Ortiz 118 Richard A. Violette, Jr. 10/1
7 7Tale of Verve (KY) John R. Velazquez 118 Dallas Stewart 30/1
8 8Tapin Mojo (KY) Manuel Franco 118 Naipaul Chatterpaul 50/1
9 9Mubtaahij (IRE) Irad Ortiz, Jr. 118 Kiaran P. McLaughlin 5/1