2022 Gun Runner Stakes at a Glance

The Gun Runner Stakes leads off Fair Grounds road to the Kentucky Derby. (Eclipse Sportswire)

There are still plenty of qualifying races for the 2023 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve on the horizon, but the final chance to pick up some points as a juvenile comes Monday, Dec. 26, with the Gun Runner Stakes at Fair Grounds. Named for the 2017 Horse of the Year, the Gun Runner offers 2-year-olds a chance to battle around two turns at a mile-and-a-sixteenth distance that should be quite telling about their potential as a Triple Crown contender in 2023.

gun runner stakes

Racetrack: Fair Grounds, New Orleans

Date: Dec. 26

Purse: $100,000

Distance: 1 1/16 miles

Race: 11

Post Time: 6 p.m. ET

Notable winner: Epicenter (2021)

First held: 2021

1.Hayes Strike (7-2): Was third and second in graded stakes from outside posts and now switches to the rail for a ground-saving trip. His late-running style is suited by the distance and he should be a major player.

JOCKEY: Brian J. Hernandez TRAINER: Ken McPeek

2. Jace’s Road (3-1): He had a forgettable day last time out in the Grade 3 Street Sense Stakes, dumping his jockey before the start and then losing by 36 1/2 lengths on a sloppy track at Churchill Downs. He was the 2.07-1 favorite that day and has worked fine since then, indicating he just might rebound with a better showing here.

JOCKEY: Florent Geroux TRAINER: Brad Cox 

3. Determinedly (7-2) He was a distant second to a highly regarded Bob Baffert runner and then romped in a maiden win at seven furlongs. He’s traveled two turns previously on the turf and seems to be a horse on an upswing who is ready for a big effort here.

JOCKEY: Luis Saez TRAINER: Mark Casse

4. Old Alliance (10-1): Won his debut nicely then was a distant third in an allowance race against two quality rivals. His workouts have been sharp since then and he appears capable of taking a step forward here.

JOCKEY: Colby Hernandez TRAINER: Michael Stidham

5. Mazing Mark (8-1): He broke his maiden in a stakes while running for the third time. Maybe he’s getting better, but the time was on the slow side and perhaps a weak group of rivals is the best explanation for the win.

JOCKEY: Juan Vargas TRAINER: Lonnie Briley

6. Raise Cain (8-1): He was third in a sprint stakes last time out and might prefer more distance, but will need to step up his game a notch to be a major player here.

JOCKEY: Luan Machado TRAINER: Ben Colebrook

7. Andthewinneris (7-2): His two wins are on turf and his lone dirt race is hard to gauge since he was third in a sprint stakes. His pedigree leans toward turf so we’ll take a pass on him in this spot.

JOCKEY: Corey Lanerie TRAINER: Wayne Catalano

THE PICK: Determinedly



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