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2016 Kentucky Derby Pedigrees: Gun Runner

By Kellie Reilly

Gun Runner’s pedigree offers an attractive blend of high-class speed and routing capacity over every surface.

His sire is the brilliant and unbeaten Candy Ride, who secured championship miler honors in his native Argentina with a pair of Group 1 romps on turf. His times of 1:31.01 and 1:32.16 for the metric mile stamped him as something out of the ordinary, and earned him a ticket to Hall of Famer Ron McAnally’s barn in California. Continuing his winning streak on both dirt and turf in his new home, Candy Ride added the nine-furlong American H. (G2) to his resume and famously defeated Medaglia d’Oro in the 2003 Pacific Classic (G1) in a Del Mar track record of 1:59.11 for 1 1/4 miles.

Candy Ride descends from another branch of the Fappiano male line that’s responsible for five Kentucky Derby (G1) winners, beginning with Unbridled (1990), and most recently, through Unbridled’s great-grandson, Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. Candy Ride may have added to that total, if his best runner, 2013 champion 2-year-old male Shared Belief, hadn’t missed the 2014 Triple Crown due to foot trouble.

Shared Belief went on to prove himself over 1 1/4 miles by dominating the Pacific Classic and the Santa Anita H. (G1), becoming his sire’s second Big ‘Cap winner after Misremembered (2010). Other top performers by Candy Ride include the versatile Twirling Candy and Sidney’s Candy, who each won graded stakes on turf, dirt, and synthetic. Twirling Candy set a seven-furlong track record on Santa Anita’s dirt in the Malibu (G1) and just missed in both the Pacific Classic and Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) at 1 1/4 miles. Sidney’s Candy, the 2010 Santa Anita Derby (G1) victor, owned track records at Del Mar both sprinting on the old Polytrack and going 1 1/16 miles on turf. Candy Ride can also get Grade 1-winning sprinters like Capt. Candyman Can, El Brujo, and Evita Argentina.

Gun Runner’s maternal half is equally impressive and versatile. He is the first foal from Quiet Giant, a Grade 2 heroine with a Grade 1 pedigree, who was sold to Besilu Stables for $3 million as part of the bloodstock dispersal of her late breeder, Edward Evans. A half-sister to 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam, Quiet Giant won or placed in seven stakes, earned $405,389, and capped her career with a five-length rout of the Molly Pitcher (G2).

Quiet Giant is by redoubtable champion and leading sire Giant’s Causeway. Dubbed the “Iron Horse” after compiling a rapid-fire five-race winning streak in Group 1s on the European turf, the Aidan O’Brien trainee was just denied by Tiznow in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). Giant’s Causeway ranks among the globe’s elite stallions. Aside from his prolific stream of major winners, including current Kentucky Derby hopeful Brody’s Cause, he has established his own branch of the Storm Cat sire line through such prominent sons as Shamardal, Footstepsinthesand, First Samurai, and now Eskendereya (Mor Spirit’s sire). Giant’s Causeway mares are doing their part as well, producing the likes of Verrazano, French celebrities Beauty Parlour and Planteur, and South African globetrotter Soft Falling Rain.

Thus Gun Runner is bred on the same productive Candy Ride/Storm Cat cross as Shared Belief and Sidney’s Candy. Moreover, his pedigree sports inbreeding to Fappiano, Blushing Groom, and Lyphard.

Quiet Giant is out of Grade 2-placed stakes winner Quiet Dance, who produced five stakes performers in addition to Saint Liam, winner of the Donn (G1), Woodward (G1), Stephen Foster (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) during his Horse of the Year campaign. This is also the immediate family of 2011 Mother Goose (G1) victress Buster’s Ready and 2012 Del Mar Futurity (G1) hero Rolling Fog. 

Proceeding deeper through the maternal line, one finds Irish champion Minstrella and Grade 1 queen Misty Gallore (dam of solid sire Silver Ghost) on the way to Gun Runner’s sixth dam, Hall of Famer Gallorette.

Gallorette’s family includes 1935 Triple Crown winner Omaha and his full brother Flares, successful in the Ascot Gold Cup and Champion S. in England; champion filly Jacola, dam of 1947 Belmont-winning champion Phalanx; and 1939 Kentucky Derby and Belmont star Johnstown, who would eventually join Omaha in the Hall of Fame. In 1962, Decidedly became the third Kentucky Derby winner from this line.

Pedigree information courtesy Brisnet.com (products 105E and 750, respectively).

Photo courtesy Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography.