Gun Runner says adieu after Pegasus victory

Gun Runner, the 2017 Horse of the Year, retired a champion on Saturday by winning the second annual Pegasus World Cup Invitational, pulling away late in the world's richest horse race.

Out quickly from the 10th gate in the 12-horse field for the 1,800m showdown at Florida's Gulfstream Park in America, 4-5 favourite Gun Runner settled into second behind Connected.

At the third turn, jockey Florent Geroux sent Gun Runner into the lead and he surged ahead from there, fending off a late backstetch challenge by West Coast to win in 1min 47.41sec.

That gave last year's Breeders Cup Classsic winner the US$7 million (S$9.1 million) top prize from the US$16 million race.

The Bob Baffert-trained West Coast, the second choice at 4-1 and who started second from the rail, was second, taking US$1.6 million.

Third-placed Gunnevera took US$1.3 million.

"Just a very emotional time," said Gun Runner's trainer, Steve Asmussen.

"For him to come through like he did today, overcome the draw, I'm so proud of him.

"He's a dream come true. He's just a special individual. This memory will be with us forever."

By mid-February, Gun Runner will be put out to stud after having won six of his final seven races. - AFP