After a gruelling and career defining victory in the 2018 Pegasus World Cup, the reigning horse of the year is making himself comfortable at his new home for the time being. Gun Runner begins retirement, and his densely packed stud career, after moving to Three Chimney Farm in Kentucky. It is a fitting end to an unexpected career from one of the sport’s most consistent threats.
Sandy Hatfield oversaw the transition phase to bring Gun Runner in to the Midway, Kentucky farm. “He has handled his first day here beautifully,” Hatfield said as Gun Runner begins retirement and a much more subdued life as a stallion in high demand. “He ate his dinner, ate breakfast this morning, and when he got out in his paddock, he bucked and kicked and ran around, then dropped his head and ate grass. We’ll do that again tomorrow and then introduce him to some test mares on Wednesday or Thursday.”
This is familiar territory for Gun Runner, who spent some time following his 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic victory at Three Chimney Farm. “It was so helpful that hewas here in November. Not only for the breeders to see him, but for the two different teams to meet each other,” Hatfield continued while mentioning some sage advice from trainer Steve Asmussen. “Steve said usually they take care of these horses for two or three years and make every decision about every minute of their day, and then one day they get on a van and go someplace where you don’t know who is going to take care of them. He said it was nice that they could come here and see where he was going to be and to meet everyone. He said it meant a lot to them. And it was good for us to get to know Gun Runner a little bit, because we don’t have much time to get him transitioned. But again, he is such a smart horse. He is always looking for the next thing.”
Known as a strong personality, Gun Runner has made his presence known. “We have some older mares that we will bring in who are well-versed in this kind of work,” she said. “He is already acting interested and is talking smack to the other boys. He is letting them know he’s here.” The champ is here, ladies and gentlemen.
Gun Runner begins retirement having earned $15,988,500 in career earnings over 19 starts with a record of 12-3-2. His most notable finishes were a third place showing in the 2016 Kentucky Derby, second in the 2017 Dubai World Cup, a win in the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Classic and his finale in the 2018 Pegasus World Cup. He will stand for $70,000.