Preakness Stakes

Kingsbarns wins Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs, earns spot in Breeders’ Cup Classic

Kingsbarns wins Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs, earns spot in Breeders' Cup Classic

Kingsbarns’ second try at Churchill Downs was a winner.

With Luis Saez riding, Kingsbarns took the lead at the quarter-pole and pulled away to win Saturday’s $1 million, Grade 1 Stephen Foster by 2 1/2 lengths.

Kingsbarns trained by Todd Pletcher gnaws at the rubber on Thursday, May 2, 2024 at Churchill Downs.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Kingsbarns covered the 1 1/8 miles on a fast dirt track in 1:48.09 and paid $21.90 on a $2 win wager.

In his only previous start at Churchill Downs, Kingsbarns finished 14th in the 2023 Kentucky Derby. It’s the only time he’s finished worse than second in nine career starts.

“We felt for a long time this was a very good horse, a little unlucky here and there,” said Ned Toffey, general manager of Spendthrift Farm. “Maybe hasn’t been just right. He put it all together today and was very fun to watch.”

On Saturday, 4-5 favorite First Mission and Skippylongstocking battled early on the front end, with First Mission setting fractions of 24.13 seconds for the quarter-mile, 48.38 seconds for the half-mile and 1:11.86 for three quarters.

Saez and Kingsbarns made their move on the second turn and never looked back.

“Around the far turn he really found his stride nicely and just took me from there,” Saez said. “He fought hard down the entire stretch.”

Pyrenees rallied to finish second and was followed by Skippylongstocking and First Mission.

The victory gave Kingsbarns an automatic spot in the $7 million Breeders’ Cup Classic set for Nov. 2 at Del Mar.

A 4-year-old son of Uncle Mo, Kingsbarns is now 6-2-0 in nine career starts for Spendthrift Farm. Kingsbarns entered off a second-place finish behind Pyrenees in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special on May 17.

Jason Frakes: 502-582-4046; jfrakes@courier-journal.com. Follow on X @KentuckyDerbyCJ.

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This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kingsbarns, trained by Todd Pletcher, wins Stephen Foster Stakes 2024

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