Louisiana Derby 2023: Kingsbarns shines in his stakes debut

With 40 days to go, the Kentucky Derby is dominated by Todd Pletcher, who added a third heavy-hitter to his portfolio when stakes debutant Kingsbarns came home a very impressive winner of Saturday’s G2 Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds. At Turfway Park, the consistent Two Phil’s punched his ticket to the Derby with a runaway score in the G3 Jeff Ruby Steaks, while Sunday’s news was all about shock G3 Sunland Park Derby winner Wild On Ice, who defied odds of 35-1 to put his name in the frame for Churchill Downs.

KENTUCKY DERBY ODDS

Sunland Park Derby

G3, $600,000, 1m 1f dirt, 3yo, Sunland Park, Sunday

The drinks are on Ice

When you think a horse has no chance, think again. Wild On Ice was a 35-1 poke in a field of six for the Sunland Park Derby on Sunday, next to no chance, yet he overcame the odds and his rivals – the closest being Low Expectations and Henry Q – to claim 50 Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifying points and a possible place in the gate for America’s greatest race.

With a quarter of a mile to run, everything was happening as predicted, with second-choice Henry Q leading hot favourite Hard To Figure. Wild On Ice was right behind them, and when the two front-runners went from go to no in the space of two or three strides he was ready to take advantage, turning back a persistent challenge from fellow outsider Low Expectations to get home by a length and a quarter.

Henry Q plodded on to be two and a half lengths back in third and Hard To Figure dropped right out, finishing a weary last. It was jockey Ken Tohill’s first victory in a Graded stakes.

“The whole team believed in this horse and wanted to give him a shot,” said trainer Joel Marr, who is much more famous for training the remarkable 19-for-19 mare Peppers Pride. “We weren’t thinking about the Kentucky Derby, but we are now.”

It’s a pertinent point. Wild On Ice was not nominated to the Triple Crown – the late nomination stage is today, Monday 27th – and connections will have to find $6,000 to make him eligible. As the son of Tapizar picked up $356,400 for this success, that might not be too tough a choice. Wild On Ice is 75-1 for the Kentucky Derby on the Jazz future book – and only a fool would say he has no chance.

Sunland Park Derby 2023 Payouts

HorseWinPlaceShow
1. Wild On Ice72.8034.806.40
2. Low Expectations 15.404.40
3. Henry Q  2.20

Winning time: 1m 51.39s

Sunland Park Derby Race Video

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Wild on ice wins the 2023 Soundland Park Derby #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horsesoftiktok #Horses #Horse #FYP #Sports

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Louisiana Derby

G2, $1,000,000, 1m 3/16 dirt, 3yo, Fair Grounds, Saturday

Kingsbarns stakes Derby claim

Todd Pletcher already had the first and second favorites for the Kentucky Derby in his barn, and now he has a third big player after Kingsbarns made a triumphant stakes debut in the Louisiana Derby on Saturday, going gate-to-wire at the Fair Grounds to beat Disarm and Jace’s Road and claim the 100 RTKD points available to the winner.

It was a big class hike for the unbeaten son of Uncle Mo but the 9-2 second-choice was very impressive, always travelling easily on the lead under Flavien Prat and quickening decisively in mid-stretch, opening up daylight.

His superiority was never threatened, although the rallying Disarm trimmed the winning margin to three and a half lengths, and there were two and three-quarter lengths back to the pace-chasing third-choice Jace’s Road. The favoured Instant Coffee looked a little slow, never making his presence felt before coming home sixth.

“He jumped well and I thought it was a great performance,” said Prat. “If he can build on that, even better.”

As Kingsbarns was unraced at two and making just his third start here, he can be expected to build on it, and his stamina is not in question after this dominant win at a mile and three-sixteenths. He is a 15-1 fourth-choice for the Kentucky Derby on the Jazz future book. The runner-up Disarm, who was also making his stakes debut, earned 40 RTKD points and is 25-1 for the big race with Jazz.

Louisiana Derby 2023 Payouts

HorseWinPlaceShow
1. Kingsbarns11.006.405.00
2. Disarm 7.807.00
3. Jace’s Road  5.60

Winning time: 1m 57.33s

Louisiana Derby Race Video

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Undefeated Kingsbarns takes the 110th running of the G2 Louisiana Derby #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horsesoftiktok #Horses #Horse #FYP #Sport

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Jeff Ruby Steaks

G3, $700,000, 1m 1f all-weather, 3yo, Turfway Park, Saturday

Two is the magic number

The synthetic Turfway Park strip may not be the most obvious place to find a Kentucky Derby winner, but Two Phil’s is now firmly in contention for the ‘Run for the Roses’ after his dominant victory in the Jeff Ruby Steaks on Saturday, picking up 100 RTKD points with this easy win from Major Dude and Funtastic Again.

It was Funtastic Again who towed them along, with Jarlath ‘J-Love’ Loveberry – who has made a very swift return to the saddle after fracturing a leg on March 1 – content to keep Two Phil’s in the hunt in mid-division.

The 5-2 second-choice made ground around the turn and surged to the lead at the top of the lane, and from there it was just a question of how far? The answer was five and a quarter lengths from the willing favourite Major Dude, with Funtastic Again plugging away to the wire on fumes alone, two and a quarter lengths further back.

“We’re on our way to the Derby,” said delighted trainer Larry Rivelli, whose stable star posted a Beyer figure of 101, the best of any three-year-old this year. “He has really matured. Nothing bothers him. And he’s already won at Churchill Downs.”

That victory came in the G3 Street Sense in October, and since then Two Phil’s – now four-for-eight lifetime – has knocked on the door in two Derby preps without looking like he had the key. Now he does, and he is 25-1 on the Jazz future book to follow in the hoofprints of Rich Strike, who came out of the Jeff Ruby to win at Churchill Downs last year.

Jeff Ruby Steaks 2023 Payouts

HorseWinPlaceShow
1. Two Phil’s7.643.902.92
2. Major Dude 3.282.56
3. Funtastic Again  3.96

Winning time: 1m 49.03s

Jeff Ruby Stakes Race Video

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Two Phil’s punches his ticket for the Derby with a 6 length victory in the 2023 Jeff Ruby S. #Horseracing #Horseracingtips #Horsesoftiktok #Horses #Horse #FYP #Sport

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