Gun Bow with Walter Blum up
The bay colt Gun Bow was foaled in 1960. He was sired by Gun Shot out of the mare Ribbons and Bows, by Triple Crown winner War Admiral. Gun Bow did not race at 2 because he had a lame hip. He reached peak form at age 4 and is particularly well known for his rivalry with five-time Horse of the Year Kelso.
Gun Bow's most important win at 3 was the Narragansett Special. By 4 he was competing on both coasts. Racing in California he won the San Fernando, San Antonio, and Strub Stakes (by an impressive 12 lengths) and defeated Cyrano and the excellent filly Lamb Chop.
Back East Gun Bow went to Florida and won the Gulfstream Park Handicap and then headed north to meet Kelso in the Brooklyn Handicap. In this race Gun Bow received eight pounds from Kelso and won by 12 lengths in track record time of 1:59 3/5 for 10 furlongs. Competing against Mongo in the Whitney, the two each carried 130 pounds with Gun Bow winning by 10 lengths. Moving to Chicago, Gun Bow also took the 1 1/8 mile Washington Handicap. By the fall Gun Bow was seen as a serious challenger to Handicap champion Kelso. Under equal weights, Gun Bow lost to his rival in the 1 1/8 mile Aqueduct Stakes but nipped him by a nose in the 1 1/4 mile Woodward. The two met for a final time in the Washington, D.C. International. Kelso set an American record with Gun Bow coming in second. To recap this season, Gun Bow won 50% of his races and was in the money for 88% of his starts. The Daily Racing Form ranked him equal to Kelso at 136 pounds.
In his final season Gun Bow carried the high weight of 129 pounds and defeated challengers Candy Spots, George Royal, and Hill Rise in the San Antonio and won the Donn Handicap in Florida. Under 130 pounds he defeated Chieftain and Affectionately in the Metropolitan Mile. When the year ended, Gun Bow was ranked co-highweight with Kelso and Roman Brother in the Daily Racing Form.
In a career where he constantly had to compete with Kelso for the limelight, Gun Bow has finally received the recognition he deserved.
He was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1999.
Gun Bow and Ycaza take the ‘65 San Antonio
©1965 Santa Anita Photo