Gun Runner Stakes 2023 Picks

Brad Cox has two Gun Runner Stakes entrants including Nash (NYRA Photo)

By Jarrod Horak

The road to Kentucky Derby 2024 continues at Fair Grounds on Saturday, December 23, and I have included Gun Runner Stakes 2023 picks below. The non-graded event for 2-year-olds has a $100,000 purse and the eight entrants will be traveling 1 1/16 miles on the main track. It is the 12th race on Dec. 23 and the top five finishers will earn Kentucky Derby points (10-5-3-2-1). 

Gun Runner Stakes 2023 Picks & Final Time Ratings

Catching Freedom rallied to win his flat mile debut as the favorite under the Twin Spires on Oct. 1. He was the favorite again in an optional-claiming route at that same venue on Nov. 9, and he rallied mildly to finish 4th of 10. Brad Cox’s $575k Constitution colt will try to get involved from off the pace. 

Risk it wired the field as the favorite in his six panel debut at Saratoga. I made him my top choice in the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes on Sept. 16, and he stalked the pace and landed the place. He split an 8-horse field in a flat effort in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) last time. Joel Rosario hops aboard the $500k son of Gun Runner, and he is the first of two entrants for trainer Steve Asmussen. 

Nash is currently my top ranked Kentucky Derby 2024 contender. Brad Cox’s Medaglia d’Oro colt was clearly second best as the beaten favorite in his dirt sprint debut at Keeneland. He stretched out in his second career start on Nov. 12, and he set the pace and bounded away to win by 10 lengths. He was geared down under Florent Geroux last time, and he should be all over the pace in this spot. 

Track Phantom rounds out the field for Steve Asmussen. This $500k Quality Road colt made the lead and settled for minor awards in his first two starts at one mile. He tried two turns at Churchill Downs on Nov. 25, and he set the pace and kept on going in a sharp 4 3/4 length victory. Look for this one to attend the pace from the outside post.  

The 8-horse Gun Runner Stakes field also includes Next Level, Neat, Footprint, and Snead.

Gun Runner Stakes 2023 Picks

The Gun Runner Stakes is the eleventh race in my Kentucky Derby 2024 video series, and my top choices have two wins, three runner-up finishes, and a show finish. I will cover each points race on the road to the Kentucky Derby. Check out my Gun Runner Stakes 2023 picks video below.