Preakness profile: Red Route One

Red Route One has been a consistent enough sophomore in his nine outings to date, but it’s also true that he’s been a step below the best of his generation.

The late-running sort punched his ticket to Baltimore with a just-in-time win in the Bath House Row Stakes at Oaklawn Park. The challenge: he may not get the sort of strong pace he needs to close into, and if he does, isn’t Mage a better version of this type of horse?


Already with nine career starts early in his three year old season, Red Route One began in early August at Saratoga going a 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf for trainer Steve Asmussen. At the shorter price of 4-1, it appeared as if he would take to the turf first time out, but missing the break and coming up empty late led to a disappointing fifth-place finish.

In his second try, a better break and early move to take over at the top of the stretch led to his first victory, yet Asmussen opted to switch him to dirt and try a step up in the Breeders’ Futurity. He once again lagged at the break, but showed a nice closing kick to pass nine runners and hit the board at a whopping 59-1 price.

Red Route One

Gun Runner – Red House, by Tapit

Career Record: 9-2-2-1

Trainer: Steve Asmussen

Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC

Breeder: Winchell Thoroughbreds, LLC

Career Earnings: $631,575

This mid-pack to deep closing style would follow him in his next six efforts, failing to pick up another win until his most recent try. His best effort among those races came in the Rebel Stakes, where he made a late charge from dead last at the eventual winner Confidence Game in the slop at Oaklawn. 

Failing to amass enough points to run on the first Saturday in May after a distant sixth in the Arkansas Derby, Red Route One finally regained his winning footing in another deep closing effort at Oaklawn in late April in the Bath House Row Stakes. As had become a theme, Red Route One broke slow and dropped back to eighth by eleven lengths. New jockey Joel Rosario was able to rouse just enough effort from this colt, getting him to win at the wire by a head going nine furlongs. Getting a win at this distance could be the start of some maturing and a step forward for this Asmussen trainee, although his deep running style may be difficult to continue as he takes bigger swings at the top grouping of three-year-olds.



1st, Bath House Row S. – Broke well enough but quickly dropped to rear to enter the first turn two wide and a joint last with rival to his inside, biding his time off a fast early pace. Entering the backstretch, he was second to last and inside, and he began to make perhaps slight progress moving up the backstretch. Still well back entering the far turn, he was able to save ground while rounding the turn, then tipped smoothly to be widest in upper stretch and closed strongly to get the bob on the wire before galloping out clear of his rival, making up eight lengths in the final three furlongs.


Also trained by Steve Asmussen, Red Route One’s sire Gun Runner is off to a great start at stud, already producing a whopping seven horses who have earned over $1,000,000 in their careers. These are headlined by Cyberknife, Echo Zulu, and Taiba, all of whom have passed the two-million threshold. Also by Gun Runner is last year’s Preakness winner Early Voting, who took aim at the middle jewel of the triple crown after bypassing the Derby and became the first classic winner by Gun Runner. 

Red Route One is out of the unraced Tapit mare Red House. Tapit is well-known for producing runners who handle longer distance well, siring four of the last seven Belmont winners. He was also the leading broodmare sire last year by graded stakes wins and continues to be one of the most prolific broodmare sires by offspring racing earnings. 

Red Route One’s only sibling to race, Red Run, is a full brother and a stakes winner in his own right.


Although he may not be the rider for Red Route One in the Preakness, Joel Rosario said of him last race per the Oaklawn news release, “I always had confidence in the horse. It looked like when we got to the sixteenth pole that we had the race won. Then, they kept moving. But he gave everything to me. It was just a close race.” 

Red Route One’s Bath House Row victory not only qualified him to run at Pimlico, but gave the connections confidence that he could win at a stakes level after a few let downs. Asmussen believed post-race that “It feels like there’s more there. Maybe the victory, maybe the winning … Joel gave him a dream trip.”