Horse racing has a new king: Gun Runner.
He won the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic by 2¼ lengths on Saturday, sending his rival Arrogate to a career-ending defeat at Del Mar.
Gun Runner, a 4-year-old colt, ran 1¼ miles in 2 minutes 1.29 seconds and paid $6.80, $4.40 and $3.20.
Collected returned $5.60 and $4, while West Coast was another 1¼ lengths back in third and paid $3.60.
Arrogate finished in a dead heat for fifth with Gunnevera, done in once again at the seaside track north of San Diego. It was also the scene of two losses this summer.
“He just doesn’t seem to get a hold of this racetrack, for whatever reason,” Arrogate’s jockey, Mike Smith, said. “I hate to blame it on the track, but he’s shown it time and time again. I keep trying to talk myself into it, that he’s going to like it one day, but he just never did.”
Arrogate has not been the same horse since his dominant wins in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup and the $10 million Dubai World Cup this year made him the sport’s richest thoroughbred with over $17 million in earnings.
The Dubai race was the last time Gun Runner lost. Since then, he has had four consecutive victories.
Arrogate was a slight 2-1 favorite over Gun Runner, with $1,420,233 bet on Arrogate to win — $132,416 more than on Gun Runner.
Bob Baffert saddled a record four horses in pursuit of a record fourth straight win in the Classic. He finished second and third with Collected and West Coast, and was left to puzzle over another disappointing showing by Arrogate. His other horse, Mubtaahij, was eighth.
Arrogate broke a step slow and banged his left side on the starting gate.
“At the break, when he ducked in and he had to gather him up, you just can’t do that against these horses,” Baffert said. “But I notice when he goes around these turns, he loses momentum. I can’t really totally blame it on the track. He’s so much better than that.”
War Story was fourth, followed by Arrogate and Gunnevera, Churchill, Mubtaahij, War Decree, Pavel and Win the Space.
Good Magic won the $2 million Juvenile by 4¼ lengths, making him the winter favorite for next year’s Kentucky Derby. Ridden by Jose Ortiz, Good Magic ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.34 and paid $25 to win at 11-1 odds. Good Magic earned his first win after finishing second in his first two career starts. Solomini, trained by Baffert, finished second. Bolt D’Oro, the 3-5 favorite, was third. Curlin, a former B.C. Classic winner, sired the winner and the runner-up.
Trainer Peter Miller went 1-2 in the $1 million Turf Sprint with 30-1 shot Stormy Liberal winning by a head over 13-1 shot Richard’s Boy. Stormy Liberal paid $62.40 to win.
Talismatic rallied in the stretch to win the $4 million Turf by a half-length at 14-1 odds. Talismatic ran 1½ miles in 2:26.19 and paid $30.20 to win. The defending champion Highland Reel — the 7-5 favorite — was third.
In the $2 million Juvenile Fillies, Smith scored an upset — for his leading 26th Cup win — aboard the 17-1 shot Caledonia Road.
World Approval won the $2 million Mile by 1¼ lengths, giving jockey John Velazquez his second Cup win in two days.
The weekend’s biggest upset was staged by Bar of Gold, a 60-1 shot, in the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint. Ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Bar of Gold ran seven furlongs in 1:22.63 and paid $135.40 to win.
Wuheida took the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf by a length and paid $24.40 at 11-1 odds.
Roy H won the $1.5 million Sprint by a length under Kent Desormeaux and paid $11.80 at 9-2 odds.