GUN RUNNER COLT, HERN, $155,000 YEARLING PURCHASE, TAKES MONDAY FEATURE RACE AT REMINGTON PARK
The L and N Racing Stable out of Tulsa, Okla., has mined its share of gold from Gun Runner babies. Mike Levenson and Don Nelson, who comprise L and N, own the top 2-year-old filly in the country, a Gun Runner juvenile named Echo Zulu, in conjunction with Winchell Thoroughbreds.
L and N purchased Hern for $155,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling sale last October and that son of Gun Runner won the feature race at Remington Park on Monday. He is out of the stakes-placed mare Sweet Opportunity, who is a daughter of Distorted Humor. It was Hern’s second victory in only five starts. He could prove to be a bargain, considering Gun Runner foals have averaged $238,600 at sales.
Hern didn’t show much at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, to open his career, running seventh, beaten 15 lengths against maidens, sprinting five furlongs. He then was put on the grass at Lone Star and stretched out to 7-1/2 furlongs. He showed some improvement at the longer distance, finishing fifth, losing by 5-1/2 lengths.
The game’s all-time winningest trainer, Steve Asmussen, gave the Hern some time off from July to September and he came out of the gates at Remington Park as they expected him to do, winning by 4-3/4 lengths in maiden special weights company at one mile. The colt was turned back to 7 furlongs in the $100,000 Clever Trevor Stakes the next time out and he regressed to a seventh-place finish, beaten 18 lengths by El Pando, considered to be the best local possibility for the $400,000 Springboard Mile on the final night of the season, Dec. 17.
The drop in class back to optional allowance/claiming $75,000 horses and stretching back out to one mile did the trick for Hern, who was in for the claiming price. Under jockey Stewart Elliott for the first time since his Lone Star races, Hern was sent off at 8-1 odds and cruised home to an eight-length win in 1:41.05 over a fast track. Speightsville set the early pace handling a quarter-mile in :23.70 and a half-mile in :47.72 before Hern took over going through the final turn. He reached six furlongs in 1:13.23 and seven furlongs in 1:26.70.
Elliott had Hern sitting third down the backstretch, using tactical speed to gain the edge after the speed duel between Speightsville and Keen Cat fell apart. When it did, Hern pounced in the turn and led by four lengths in mid-stretch before drawing off like he was shot from a rocket. Chrome Baby (9-5) finished second, a head in front of Shamayim (21-1) in third. The 8-5 post-time favorite, Stan’s Miracle Man, who was four-for-six in wins coming into the race, had no excuse, running fifth most of the way before finishing sixth, more than 25 lengths back of the winner.
One of the signs that Hern might turn it around Monday was that after his poor effort in the Clever Trevor he put up a bullet workout on Nov. 14, going 1:01 3/5ths for five furlongs handily, the fastest time of 11 that morning.
Hern paid $19.80 to win, $8.60 to place and $5.80 to show while picking up $20,196 from the $34,000 purse. He has two wins from five career starts and almost doubled his career earnings from $21,118 to $41,314 after the victory.
Hern was bred in Kentucky by Charles Chu, who jumped into racing after his wife Susan had some early success in the sport. She purchased a horse name Drefong as a yearling in 2014 for $450,000 and he went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in 2016.
Remington Park racing continues Tuesday with the first race at 2:30pm-Central.
Tracked by more than 167,000 fans on Facebook and 10,500 Twitter followers, Remington Park has provided more than $278 Million to the State of Oklahoma general education fund since the opening of the casino in 2005. Located at the junction of Interstates 35 & 44, in the heart of the Oklahoma City Adventure District, Remington Park is home for the $400,000 Springboard Mile on Friday, Dec. 17. Simulcast horse racing featured daily, the casino is always open! Visit remingtonpark.com for more information.