March 26, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Gun Runner reaffirmed his status as a Kentucky Derby contender, pulling away for a 4 1/2-length victory Saturday in the Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds.

Ridden by Florent Geroux, the Steve Asmussen-trained Gun Runner ran the mile in 1:51.06 and earned 100 Kentucky Derby entry points to push his total to 151. He won the Risen Star last month at the Fair Grounds, but was the 7-2 third-choice behind local favorite Mo Tom and Champagne Stakes winner Greenpointcrusader.

''We don't care about any of that other stuff,'' Asmussen said about the odds. ''We just care about our horse.''

Owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farms, the winner paid $9.80, $5.60 and $3.60 and earned $600,000.

''We're fortunate and thankful to the Winchells for the opportunity to train this horse,'' Asmussen said. ''Gun Runner is very talented, so we're really looking forward to his next race. The Derby is what we're all dreaming about.''

The trip to the Derby will be the first for Geroux, who had Stanford last year, only to see the horse scratched two days before the race.

''It's great to have a Derby horse,'' Geroux said. ''Hopefully, we can make a nice run the first Saturday in May. ... The good thing is he's very easy to manage. He's got so many gears and settles real nicely. Then when you ask him to go, he has a nice turn of foot.''

Tom's Ready, one of two entries owned by Gayle Benson, wife of New Orleans Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson was second, and Dazzling Gem third. Tom's Ready earned 40 points, and Dazzling Gem 20.

The other Benson entry, Mo Tom, was fourth, picking up 10 points to go along with the 22 he earned in earlier races.

Mo Tom recovered enough to nip Risen Star runner-up Forevamo by a head to get the 10 points that will get him in the Derby, but trainer Tom Amoss blasted jockey Corey Lanerie for the ride.

''I'm just puzzled why Corey went down to the rail,'' Amoss said. ''It's so hard to watch something like that with all of the preparation we do.''

Forevamo was fifth, followed by Candy My Boy, Greenpointcrusader, Conquest Windycity, Uncle Walter and Battery.

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