(Gun It winning at the Fair Grounds / Photo Courtesy of the Fair Grounds)
From the Fair Grounds Media Team:
A bonus Wednesday of live racing kicks off a fresh Fair Grounds racing week, and fans on-site and nationwide will be treated to an intriguing feature.
Ten Strike Racing and Madaket Stables LLC’s Warriors Charge, who was last seen finishing fourth in the Preakness (G1) at Pimlico, has been installed as Mike Diliberto’s 6/5 morning line favorite for the second-level allowance optional claimer ($40,000) for trainer Brad Cox. Carded as the seventh of nine races at 3:24 p.m. CT, the race also includes the highly regarded Gun It for Whisper Hill Farm LLC, Three Chimneys Farm and trainer Steve Asmussen.
Entering the Preakness off consecutive runaway wins in the maiden special weight and then the allowance ranks at Oaklawn, Warrior’s Charge was sent off at odds of 12/1. After setting honest fractions, he held on well to finish fourth of 13, but he hasn’t tasted competition since. Warriors Charge is programmed to break from post five of six with jockey Florent Geroux.
“About three weeks after the Preakness he colicked so he had to have surgery,” said Clay Sanders, a managing partner of Ten Strike Racing. “We took our time with him after that surgery and have just stayed patient. With the time off he’s matured and grown up a bit as you can expect with these 3-year-olds late in the season. We have high hopes for him that the race Wednesday can catapult him into his 4-year-old year.”
It’s too early to tell exactly where his 4-year-old campaign might take him, but the connections have a rough estimate of what the 2020 season might look like for Warrior’s Charge, and they’re excited about the potential.
“We haven’t laid out a plan yet,” Sanders said. “He’ll stay in New Orleans to train for the winter. We know he’s going to be a grade one horse so those are the kinds of races we’re obviously going to target. The Oaklawn Handicap is a race we are interested in, but before then maybe some two turn stakes at Fair Grounds or even the local prep for the Oaklawn Handicap.”
“Distance is one thing that we’re still trying to gauge with him,” Sanders continued. “He’s only won going two turns but Brad Cox has mentioned races like the (one-turn) Met Mile which might be right in his wheelhouse. It’s all just ideas floating around our heads at this point. It’s going to depend on how he runs and hopefully after Wednesday we have a happy and healthy horse.”
The first foal out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Miss Besilu, Gun It hails from a tremendous female family which includes $4.4 million earner Saint Liam and several others. Off a maiden win and an allowance third behind the upstart Owendale, the 3-year-old son of Tapit was thought of as a possible Kentucky Derby contender early in 2019.
He set the pace in the Risen Star Stakes presented by Lamarque Ford (G2), but faded to 12th. Following a failed allowance try at Keeneland, the $2.6 million yearling buy was given summer off.
He returned to races on November 20 and did not disappoint, winning the first-level allowance over a one-turn Churchill mile by nearly six lengths. In between starts, Gun It has posted a pair of works at Fair Grounds, the most recent of which was clocked in 1:00 4/5 for five furlongs on December 8. Gun It will break from post 3 on Wednesday with Asmussen’s first call rider Ricardo Santana Jr aboard.