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Undefeated Kingsbarns goes gate to wire in Louisiana Derby (G2)

March 26, 2023

Spendthrift Farm LLC’s Kingsbarns secured himself a spot in the Kentucky Derby (G1) with his authoritative victory in Saturday’s $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2).

Kingsbarns, who was making his stakes debut, was still highly regarded by the bettors following his blowout win in a Feb. 12 Tampa Bay Downs allowance win. The Todd Pletcher trainee got to the lead from post six, and was able to set fractions of :49.60 and 1:14.69 while only under light pressure from Jace’s Road.

As the field turned for home, Kingsbarns spurted away from the field and never looked back as he rolled home by 3 ½-lengths in 1:57.33 for the 1 3/16-miles on a fast track.

The victory was good for his first 100 points on the road to the Kentucky Derby, essentially guaranteeing his spot in the Run for the Roses.

“It appeared on paper that there was not a lot of pace, so we drew up a plan with Flavien [Prat] that if we came away in good order to be placed forward and hopefully dictate the race on our terms,” Pletcher said. “It was a lot to ask to go to a graded stakes going 1 3/16 miles for the first time in his third career start. We gave up a lot of seasoning and he responded in a big way.”

Pletcher added, “We’ll get him back to Palm Beach Downs and assess, but we’re planning for him to be one of our ones in the Kentucky Derby.”

Kingsbarns three wins in as many starts has earned him $657,300.

Spendthrift’s Major Dude also under Derby consideration

Multiple graded stakes winner Major Dude, a son of Bolt d’Oro also owned by Spendthrift, added a second-place finish in Saturday’s $700,000 Jeff Rudy S. (G3) at Turfway Park. Major Dude, who is also trained by Pletcher, earned 40 points on the Road to the Derby, a number that has historically secured a spot in the gate for the Run for the Roses.

Major Dude won the Pilgrim S. (G2) at two and the Kitten’s Joy S. (G3) earlier this year. His overall record is 3-2-1 in eight starts, with earnings of $436,095.