Gun Runner lived up to favouritism in the 2018 Pegasus World Cup Invitational, the world’s richest horse race, on January 27. Despite a difficult draw, the American Horse of The Year pulled clear of his rivals to win the $16 million-dollar event at Gulfstream Park in Florida, USA. His Hall of Fame-trainer Steve Asmussen cheered the horse on dressed in a tan-coloured suit that has been his lucky garment for the past eleven years. It is both sagged and bagged, but it has been worn by the legendary trainer for big-race wins by some of the country’s best racehorses including Curlin, Rachel Alexandra, and Untapable. The Pegasus World Cup victory marked the finale of Gun Runner’s career, and the six-time Grade 1 winner is now off to a stud career in Kentucky. The tan suit, however, is not expected to retire anytime soon.
Dressed for success
Justify takes home 13th ever Triple Crown – in a way that makes him unique among the unique
Until June 9 it had only happened 12 times in history. Last time was with American Pharaoh in 2015 and before that there was a 37 year gap from when Affirmed won in 1978.That’s when Justify decided to break all rules and just do what couldn’t be done. In a way that it couldn’t be done.The road to win the Triple Crown is said to start with winning the first of the three races - The Kentucky Derby. But the truth is that the first, and biggest obstacle, is to get to run in The Derby in the first place. As the Triple Crown races are only open to 3-year olds, horses normally have to start to show quality as 2-year olds in order to get to participate in the races that earn them points that can earn them a place in The Derby. Justify didn’t win as a 2-year old. He didn’t even race last year. His first race was on February 18, just three months before he won the Derby. He won that race. And has won every one of his races since then. But his biggest achievement is not only that he won all the three races. It’s the facts behind him that makes him stand out even among Triple Crown winners.Here are some facts that make Justify unique among the unique. Justify is the first horse since 1882 to win The Triple Crown without having raced as a 2-year old. Justify is the second horse in history to win The Triple Crown without having lost a single race in its career (The first was Seattle Slew) Justify was ridden by Mike Smith, 52. The oldest jockey ever to win The Triple Crown. Justify is trained by Bob Baffert who also trained American Pharoa who won...
SOUMILLON conquers Europe
The charismatic Belgian rider Christophe Soumillon set a new European record of wins in a calendar year, when riding 306 winners in 2017. The 36-year old French-based jockey rode in 1,635 races across the country, over a total distance of more than 3,000 km, to beat the previous record of 300 wins, set the year before by Pierre-Charles Boudot.
Proud of DADDY
Tourist, a multiple Grade 1-winner in the USA, closed his racing career in 2016 with an impressive victory in the fastest Breeders’ Cup Mile in history. His first foal, born on January 11, has every reason to be proud of her dad.
Taking horse sales to the next level
Australia Inglis, the oldest thoroughbred auctioneers in Australia, has opened a state-of-the-art sales complex at Warwick Farm in Sydney. Riverside Stables and the adjacent William Inglis Hotel opened their doors to both horses and people in February when hosting the 2018 Classic Yearling sale. The A$140million venue includes more than 800 boxes and an air-conditioned sales arena. Each of the 144 hotel rooms have their own name and theme based on champion racehorses sold through Inglis. The hotel also features a rooftop pool and bar overlooking the stable area and the Warwick Farm racecourse.
Kitasan Black – signs off in style
The Japanese fan-favourite Kitasan Black, ridden by jockey Yutaka Take, ended his outstanding career with a victory in the G1 Arima Kinen on December 24. More than 100,000 racegoers gathered trackside at Nakayama Racecourse in Japan to enjoy Kitasan Black’s final racecourse appearance and watch him capture his seventh Grade 1 title. The victory boosted his career earnings to almost 1.877 billion yen ($17.4m/€14m), making the five-year-old horse the highest earner in Japanese racing history. Shortly after, Kitasan Black was announced as the Horse of the Year in Japan for the second consecutive year. He will now enter stud at Shadai Stallion Station in Hokkaido.