King Guillermo pulled off a stunner in Saturday's $351,500 Tampa Bay Derby (G2), running away from the field down the stretch to score by 4 3/4 lengths at odds of 49-1. Sole Volante, the 3-2 favorite, finished second.
Unraced since finishing third to Sole Volante in the Nov. 30 Pulpit S. on the turf at Gulfstream Park, King Guillermo tracked in second behind Relentless Dancer before reaching the front in upper stretch. The pace was a modest :23.89, :48.16, and 1:12, slower than what aided Sole Volante's winning rally in last month's Sam F. Davis (G3).
Owned by Victor Martinez's Victorias Ranch and trained by Juan Avila, King Guillermo was ridden by Samy Camacho and returned $100.40 after completing 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:42.53. Sole Volante finished 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Texas Swing, who had a half-length up on Relentless Dancer at the finish.
King Guillermo and Texas Swing were the only two entries in the Tampa Bay Derby not currently nominated to the Triple Crown, so the respective 50 and 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points they would be entitled to remain unearned until they are nominated at a later date. Sole Volante earned 20 points, increasing his total to 30 points, while Relentless Dancer earned five points, increasing his total to six.
Sixth in his only prior start on dirt in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race at Gulfstream Park in September, King Guillermo subsequently broke his maiden by more than six lengths going a mile on the turf at Gulfstream Park West. As noted, he was third in the Pulpit as a 3-2 favorite. King Guillermo has now earned $240,350.
"We had a lot of confidence in him," said Martinez, a former major league baseball player. "His workouts have been great and he didn't do well at 5 1/2 furlongs in his first start, so we decided to put him on turf, but we still believed in him and his dirt workouts were really amazing. We had nothing to lose so we decided to give him one more shot on dirt and see what happens. This is absolutely something else. (Nothing in my baseball career) compares to this."
Bred in Kentucky by Carhue Investments, Grousridge, and Marengo Investments, King Guillermo most recently sold for $150,000 as an OBS April juvenile. He's by Uncle Mo and out of Slow Sand, by Dixieland Band.