Gun Runner was the big winner in Saturday’s Louisiana Derby as the Steve Asmussen trained horse won his second straight Derby prep race at Fairgrounds in as many months. The 100 points he collected for Saturday’s win along with 50 earned with a win in the Risen Start propelled Gun Runner to the top of the Kentucky Derby qualification points standings. Figuring that there was no need for another prep assignment, Asmussen will point Gun Runner directly for the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May.
Two other horses are heading to Kentucky as well, though their prospects aren’t quite as rosy as Gun Runner’s. Both horses are owned by Tom Benson–owner of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints. Tom’s Ready is trained by Dallas Stewart and came on strong late in the Louisiana Derby to take second place. The horse came out of the Saturday’s race looking good and after a good night’s sleep (which was shared with millions via Twitter) Stewart pronounced his charge fit and ready: “I was there at four this morning and he seemed like he was in good shape to me. (My assistants) just called and said everything was fine.”
Also headed to Churchill Downs is Mo Tom trained by Tom Amoss. Mo Tom is coming off two straight disappointing performances–on Saturday, he finished fourth in the Louisiana Derby despite going off as the post time favorite. Amoss continues to blame jockey Corie Lanerie for everything and has publicly indicated that he’s considering a jockey change for the Kentucky Derby. There’s no problem with questioning Lanerie’s in-race tactics but Amoss has demonstrated a lack of class in making his jockey a ‘catch all’ scapegoat. Once again, Mo Tom found traffic and Lanerie when inside when Amoss thinks he should have gone outside. Amoss is somewhat delusional about his horse’s ability to close. By all accounts, Mo Tom is a strong closer but to listen to Amoss you’d think that he was on the level of Zenyatta in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
As far as the race winner, Asmussen confirmed on Sunday that Gun Runner was ’100%’ and heading for Louisville where he could be a nice value horse.