Red Oak Stable's homebred King For A Day got Preakness day off to a formful start on Saturday at Pimlico, cruising to a 2 1/2-length win at odds of 2-5. The 3-year-old son of Uncle Mo, ridden by John Velazquez for trainer Todd Pletcher, completed 1 1/16 miles over the fast main track in 1:41.40.
“He's a horse we've always had very high hopes for,” Pletcher said. “He got a little behind schedule to make any of the Triple Crown races, but the owners are very patient, just wanted to give him every chance to meet his expectations. So we gave him a bit of a break this winter. He's come back, he's trained well. We were actually looking at an allowance race; it didn't go. So this turned out to be a good spot.”
Laying just off the pacesetting Trifor Gold, King For A Day tracked early fractions of :23.50 and :46.76 before ranging up alongside the leader in the far turn. He took command at the head of the stretch and pulled away convincingly, crossing the wire 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Tone Broke. V.I.P. Ticket checked in third, while Trifor Gold faded to fourth. Top Line Growth finished fifth and last.
“The horse right next to me broke awkwardly and actually kind of broke into my horse's hind end,” Velazquez relayed. “But once we got into the first run, I was comfortable with where I was and from there it was pretty easy. I knew it was going to be close, I didn't know he would be on the lead because I expected the horse next to me to be on the lead. But I wanted to make sure I got into position going into the first turn to where he was comfortable and that's where he ended up.”
Bred in Kentucky by his owners, King For A Day is out of the unraced French Deputy mare Ubetwereven, also the dam of six-figure earners Feel That Fire, Ima Jersey Girl, and Lets Parlay. King For A Day has now won two of his four lifetime starts, earning a total of $120,000.
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