December 3, 2023

Kentucky Derby trail beckons after Kingsbarns romps in Tampa Bay Downs allowance

Kingsbarns is bound for a Kentucky Derby prep after romping in a two-turn allowance (Photo by S V Photography)

One day after Todd Pletcher extended his Sam F. Davis (G3) record with Litigate, the Hall of Famer sent another Kentucky Derby (G1) hopeful, Kingsbarns, to Tampa Bay Downs for a two-turn debut. The highly-regarded colt aced Sunday’s sixth race to remain perfect from two starts, and set himself up for much bigger targets.

Kingsbarns was stretching out from his maiden score around a one-turn mile at Gulfstream Park. On that occasion, the first-time starter had to muscle his way between foes, gaining perhaps more education than he bargained for, to win well by 1 3/4 lengths. His allowance tilt at Tampa was a lot more straightforward in comparison, and his margin ballooned to 7 3/4 lengths.

Dispatched as the 1-2 favorite on Sunday, the Spendthrift Farm colorbearer broke in good order from post 2. Jockey Antonio Gallardo was happy to let a couple of others speed ahead, and Kingsbarns settled into a perfect spot in third.

Longshot Sentiro Zuliano opened up through splits of :22.79 and :46.33, monitored by Cuvier, a stablemate of Kingsbarns. Cuvier raced a few paths off the fence to allow Kingsbarns to commence a ground-saving bid. By the far turn, a spent Sentiro Zuliano couldn’t close the door, and Kingsbarns barged right on through to take charge.

The odds-on favorite was a length clear at the six-furlong mark in 1:12.48, before he even really lengthened. Cuvier was already unable to keep up, and the only rival with a chance of making things interesting was Mikey Bananas, who cut the corner into the stretch.

But Kingsbarns galloped them into the ground down the lane. With Gallardo busy just keeping him engaged, the pricey purchase widened at will to complete the mile and 40 yards in 1:40.78.

Mikey Bananas crossed the wire 3 1/2 lengths clear of third-placer Cuvier. Notah, who scratched from the Sam F. Davis in favor of this spot, was another nine lengths adrift in fourth. Sentiro Zuliano, the only entrant in for the $75,000 tag, faded to sixth in the seven-horse field.

Kingsbarns has bankrolled $57,300, but his potential stallion value is sky-high if he continues to progress. By past Pletcher star and outstanding sire Uncle Mo, the bay is out of the Grade 3-placed Lady Tapit. That Tapit mare is a half-sister to Grade 1 turfiste Gozzip Girl.

Bred by Parks Investment Group in Kentucky, Kingsbarns was a pinhook success for Tom McCrocklin. He first bought the bay for $250,000, as agent for Champion Equine, at Fasig-Tipton’s Saratoga Sale. Kingsbarns commanded $800,000 as a two-year-old in training at the same firm’s Gulfstream Sale.