Kingsbarns controlled the pace and kicked clear in the Louisiana Derby (Photo by Jamie Newell/Hodges Photography)
Spendthrift Farm’s Kingsbarns entered Saturday’s $1 million Twinspires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) as an unbeaten colt testing stakes company for the first time. After taking the early lead and powering clear down the long Fair Grounds stretch, the son of champion Uncle Mo stamped himself as a legitimate Kentucky Derby (G1) contender.
Trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, who was winning a fifth Louisiana Derby, Kingsbarns broke alertly from post 6 for jockey Flavien Prat. Jace’s Road also wanted to flash speed, but parked wider out from post 11, he ended up perched in the stalking spot.
Kingsbarns got into a comfortable rhythm while dictating slow fractions, and with that advantageous set-up, he wasn’t going to be caught. Although Jace’s Road tried to challenge on the far turn, Kingsbarns kicked away by daylight. Disarm offered a fine rally for second, without threatening the 3 1/2- length winner.
By negotiating 1 3/16 miles in 1:57.33, Kingsbarns extended his record to 3-for-3 and collected 100 Derby points. The 9-2 second choice rewarded his fans with $11.
Disarm, likewise passing his initial stakes test, earned 40 points. Another 2 3/4 lengths back in third came Jace’s Road, who added 30 points for a total of 45. Shopper’s Revenge had some trouble on the rail but held fourth, good for 20 points. Sun Thunder closed for fifth, receiving 10 points to increase his tally to 34.
Instant Coffee, the 3-2 favorite, was compromised by the lack of pace. The closer improved position somewhat but could get no nearer than sixth. Next came Tapit’s Conquest; Cagliostro, who broke through the gate prior to the start; Baseline Beater; Denington; Curly Jack; and Single Ruler.
Kingsbarns commanded $800,000 as a two-year-old in training at Fasig-Tipton’s Gulfstream Sale. Bred by Parks Investment Group in Kentucky, the bay is out of the Tapit mare Lady Tapit, who is a half-sister to Grade 1 turfiste Gozzip Girl.
His three starts have come at different tracks, and with different dynamics. In his Jan. 14 debut around a one-turn mile at Gulfstream Park, Kingsbarns had to slice through traffic to prevail. He stretched out to two turns in a Feb. 12 Tampa Bay Downs allowance
, where he initially settled off the fast pace, soon rolled into the clear, and put the race away. The Louisiana Derby revealed another tactical arrow in his quiver, and secured him a spot in the Kentucky Derby.