NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Kingsbarns led wire to wire to win the $1 million Louisiana Derby by four lengths Saturday and earned 100 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby.
Ridden by Flavien Prat and trained by Todd Pletcher, Kingsbarns ran 1 3/16 miles in 1:57.33 after breaking to the front and then settling into a relatively slow pace on a warm, dry day. The rest of the field settled behind, setting up a sprint to the finish around the final turn, during which Kingsbarns pulled away comfortably to remain unbeaten in three races.
“The horse jumped pretty well out of the gate and was able to get himself into the lead right away,” Prat said. “From that point, we were able to get a pretty soft pace and he was really comfortable, in a good rhythm, breathing well.”
“He sprinted home really well,” Prat added.
A 9-2 second favorite in the field of 12, Kingsbarns paid $11 to win.
The result virtually assures the 3-year-old colt a spot in the 20-horse field for the Kentucky Derby on May 6.
Kingsbarns made it five career Louisiana Derby wins for Pletcher, who already has the early Kentucky Derby favorite in Forte, winner of the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream. Forte is set to race again in next weekend’s Florida Derby.