The skeptics tried as hard as they could to make a case for why Gun Runner wouldn’t — couldn’t — win the 2018 Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park.

After all, they claimed, he was headed off to stud duty, and the connections surely would take it easy leading up to and during his final race. Remember what happened a year ago? California Chrome disappeared in the race, leaving his adversary, Arrogate, to romp away to an easy win. Right?

Wrong.

After all, they claimed, Gun Runner had legitimate speed horses to his inside and they would surely push him to run too early; to use too much gas too soon; to force him into a lifestyle and game that he wasn’t used to and didn’t like. Right? After all, Sharp Azteca was one of the best milers in the world and was coming into the race as, well, sharp as a tact. Right?

Wrong.

After all, they claimed, Gun Runner drew the dreaded #10 post position. And, the number of horses to break from that far out from the rail going the distance of 11/8 miles was dismal. Surely that would compromise the great one. Right? Especially when you consider that the amount of ground to the first turn was short and sharp. Right?  Surely, that would hurt his chances to making it to the front end. Right?

Wrong.

There was no case. There was no doubt. There was only glory.

In his final race of his career, Gun Runner left us with an awe-inspiring performance; a dominating victory over a classy field; a rousing run into and out of the final turn that drew images of the game’s best runners and comparisons with some of the sport’s best; and with the nagging feeling that he was leaving way too soon and the wish we could see him some more. Just one more time. Just one more.

On Saturday, Gun Runner stomped his competition, leaving little doubt that he was the 2017 Horse of the Year, and leaving one to guess could he be the 2018 Horse of the Year with just one single race.

He was that good.

(Trainer Steve Asmussen)

Now, we must say good-bye to another beautiful athlete, with four legs that resemble the wheels off a Porsche, and a heart as big as Texas — which just so happens to be the same place his trainer, Steve Asmussen, hails from and still lays down some bit of roots.

Now, we must say and write that “good” is a word not good enough to describe the way this son of Candy Ride rode into the sunset. We must; we shall use that over-utilized description of “Great,” because Gun Runner earned it and deserves it.

Now, we are only left with video highlights and mental images for having bore witness to one of the game’s all-time best. But, at day’s end, we can still say that it was really good to be in the presence of greatness.

(Gun Runner dominates Pegasus World Cup)