December 7, 2023

Kingsbarns heads Pegasus; turf features come up strong on Haskell Preview Day

Kingsbarns wins the Louisiana Derby (Photo by Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography)

Kingsbarns, the Louisiana Derby (G2) winner who was burned up contesting a hot pace in the Kentucky Derby (G1), figures to appreciate the drop in class for Saturday’s $150,000 Pegasus S., one of four stakes on the Haskell Preview Day program at Monmouth Park.

The Derby, in which he finished 14th in a field of 18, was the first career loss in four starts for the Todd Pletcher-trained Kingsbarns. In the 1 3/16-mile Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds, Kingsbarns led throughout on his terms, winning by 3 1/2 lengths over Disarm, who last weekend captured the Matt Winn (G3) at Ellis Park.

Among Kingsbarns’ seven rivals is Howgreatisnate, head winner of the Long Branch S. last out; Salute the Stars, an allowance winner at Churchill for Brad Cox in mid-May; and Subrogate, a son of Arrogate stepping up in distance and class off of a maiden win at Belmont Park.

Tribhuvan, winner of the 2021 United Nations (G1) and the 2022 Manhattan (G1), preps for a likely attempt at a second win in the former fixture in the $150,000 Monmouth (G3) over 1 1/8 miles on the turf. The front-running seven-year-old has not been out since August.

Also among the small field of six is Never Explain, upset winner of the Dinner Party (G3) at Pimlico on Preakness Day over Speaking Scout, the Hollywood Derby (G1) winner who made a late rally for fourth.

The $150,000 Eatontown (G3) for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the turf has come up very strong for the class level. Grade 2 winner Consumer Spending enters off a second-place finish in the Beaugay (G3) to fellow Chad Brown stablemate Marketsegmentation, who last week landed the New York (G1).

Brown has another serious player in Gina Romantica, last seen taking the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland in October. Malavath was well below par in her season reappearance at Aqueduct in April, though she showed strong form last fall placing in the Prix de la Foret (G1) at Longchamp and outrunning expectations when fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).

Another with merit is Surprisingly, a Grade 3 winner at Tampa Bay Downs over the winter and a neck behind Consumer Spending at the wire in the Beaugay.

The other stakes on the card is the $150,000 Salvator Mile (G3) for older horses. It marks the four-year-old debut for Artorius, who showed promise last summer winning the restricted Curlin S. at Saratoga for Juddmonte and trainer Chad Brown, only to finish unplaced in his first two open stakes appearances.