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Kingsbarns Punches Ticket to Breeders’ Classic after Stephen Foster Win

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Kingsbarns, a 4-year-old bay colt, has officially clinched his spot in the prestigious Breeders’ Cup Classic after winning the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 29, 2024. Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by jockey Luis Saez, Kingsbarns proved to be a dominant force in the race, leaving behind top contenders like Pyrenees and First Mission.

Let’s take a closer look at Kingsbarns’ journey to the Breeders’ Cup Classic and discuss what makes him a strong contender for the title.

Kingsbarns’ Victory in the Stephen Foster Stakes

Kingsbarns, with Luis Saez aboard, surged ahead at the quarter-pole and won the $1 million, Grade 1 Stephen Foster by 2 1/2 lengths at Churchill Downs. The sportsbooks are abuzz with the 2024 Breeders Cup betting predictions as Kingsbarns, the inaugural contender, emerges on the scene.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, the bay colt completed the 1 1/8 miles on a fast dirt track in 1:48.09, paying $21.90 for a $2 win bet. This win came after his 14th place finish in the 2023 Kentucky Derby, his only prior Churchill Downs race where he usually performs well.

In the race, First Mission and Skippylongstocking led early, but Kingsbarns and Saez made their move on the second turn, pulling ahead and maintaining their lead to the finish.

Saez shared that Kingsbarns found his stride well on the far turn and carried them through to victory and that the horse displayed great determination.

This win secured Kingsbarns’ place in the winner’s circle and guaranteed him a spot in the $7 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 2 at Del Mar, underlining his potential for success at the highest racing level.

In Todd Pletcher’s Care

Renowned Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher oversees the training of Kingsbarns, who clinched an automatic entry into the Breeders’ Cup Classic following his impressive victory.

Pletcher expressed immense pride in the team behind Kingsbarns. He emphasized that winning a Grade 1 is a significant achievement and that he’s thrilled with the progress he has seen in Kingsbarns this year.

The talented Kingsbarns, bred in Kentucky by the Parks Investment Group and sired by the successful Tapit mare Lady Tapit, was acquired for $800,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Select sale as a 2-year-old. Despite facing challenges in the past, including a 14th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, Kingsbarns has demonstrated remarkable growth and resilience.

What Makes Kingsbarns a Strong Contender?

In his racing career, Kingsbarns has exemplified a journey marked by success and resilience. As a 3-year-old in 2023, he asserted his dominance by securing victories in three out of five starts, notably triumphing in the prestigious $1 million Louisiana Derby. Despite a lone unplaced finish at the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, where he finished 14th, Kingsbarns boasts an impressive track record with top-two finishes in nine races.

Transitioning into the older male division at age 4, under the tutelage of Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher, Kingsbarns has emerged as a formidable contender. His wins in races like the $300,000 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland and a decisive victory over Pyrenees in the Foster at Churchill Downs underscore his growing stature in the racing world.

Following a setback with a second-place finish to Pyrenees in the $250,000 Pimlico Special Stakes, Kingsbarns demonstrated his resilience in the Stephen Foster Stakes. Guided skillfully by Luis Saez, he surged to victory at odds of 9.95-to-1, clinching a coveted berth in the $7 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic at Del Mar.

These recent performances have solidified his position as one of the top contenders for the Breeders’ Cup Classic title. His dominating win at the Stephen Foster showcased his speed, stamina, and determination – all key factors in winning a race like the Classic.

In Todd Pletcher’s care

As a 4-year-old, Kingsbarns is poised for further success, displaying enhanced maturity and rising speed figures under the guidance of a trainer with an impressive track record of 15 Breeders’ Cup victories, including the 2019 Longines Classic triumph with Vino Rosso.

With his recent win at the Stephen Foster Stakes propelling him forward, Kingsbarns is a prime contender for upcoming major older male races leading to the World Championships. His participation in the 2024 Classic hinges on his post-Foster performance and the strategic vision of his connections.

In conversation with David Grening of Daily Racing Form, Todd Pletcher proposed a potential roadmap that includes a start in the $1 million, 1 ¼-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes at Saratoga this September 1. This strategic move aims to prepare Kingsbarns for the Classic while maintaining his freshness and peak form for the fall season.


The race may be months away, but the anticipation is already building for what is sure to be an unforgettable Breeders’ Cup Classic. So, let’s keep rooting for Kingsbarns and watch as he proves himself as a true champion on the track. Who knows, he may just surprise us all and take home the ultimate prize at Del Mar.  

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