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Gun Runner wins Louisiana Derby


NEW ORLEANS (AP) Gun Runner punched his ticket for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, pulling away for a commanding victory in the Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds.

The Steve Asmussen-trained Gun Runner already had a qualifying spot secured thanks to his victory in the Risen Star here last month, but he was the 7-2 third-choice behind local favorite Mo Tom and Champagne Stakes winner Greenpointcrusader.

Gun Runner stayed near the lead until the top of the stretch when he found an opening near the rail and was unchallenged over the final yards under a strong ride by meet-leading jockey Florent Geroux, to pick up 100 Derby qualifying points.

Gun Runner, owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farms, paid $9.80, $5.40 and $3.60.

Tom’s Ready, one of two entries owned by Gayle Benson, wife of New Orleans Saints 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.