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King for a Day Reigns Supreme in $100,000 Sir Barton

May 18, 2019

BALTIMORE – Red Oak Stable homebred King for a Day kicked off his sophomore season in record-setting fashion Saturday, cruising to a 2 ½-length victory in the $100,000 Sir Barton presented by the Earle I. Mack Foundation to benefit the TAA and Man o’War Project at Pimlico Race Course.

The 22nd running of the 1 1/16-mile Sir Barton for 3-year-olds was the first of nine stakes, five graded, worth $2.8 million in purses on a spectacular 14-race program featuring the 144th Preakness Stakes (G1), the Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown.

Ridden by Hall of Famer John Velazquez for trainer Todd Pletcher, King for a Day ($2.80) hit the wire in a stakes-record 1:41.40 over a fast main track, eclipsing the mark of 1:41.67 set by Fame and Power in 2015.

It was the second career Sir Barton win for Pletcher, who also finished first with High Cotton in 2006.

King for a Day pressed pacesetter Trifor Gold on the outside through fractions of 23.50 and 46.76 seconds, moving up to challenge on the far turn and taking over at the top of the stretch before drawing away. Tone Broke, who settled in third in the early going, got up for second, 4 ½ lengths ahead of late-running V.I.P. Ticket.

A bay son of champion Uncle Mo, King for a Day had not raced since finishing fourth, beaten two lengths, in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) behind winner Signalman, who will run later Saturday in the Preakness, and runner-up Plus Que Parfait, the UAE Derby (G1) winner that ran in the May 4 Kentucky Derby (G1).

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Sir Barton winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont to become the first horse to sweep what wouldn’t become known as the Triple Crown until Gallant Fox matched the feat in 1930.

$100,000 Sir Barton Stakes Quotes

Todd Pletcher (Winning trainer, King for a Day): “He’s a horse we’ve always had very high hopes for. 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.

“He always looked like he was in a comfortable rhythm. That was the main thing. We didn’t care if we were on the lead, or where we were laying as much as just getting in a comfortable rhythm. I mean, I think the track’s quick. But 1:41 and 2 is very respectable time, regardless.”

John Velazquez (Winning jockey, King for a Day): “The horse right next to me broke awkwardly and actually kind of broke into my horse’s hind end. But once we got into the first turn, 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.”

About Pimlico Race Course

Legendary Pimlico Race Course, home of the Preakness® Stakes, the Middle Jewel in horse racing’s famed Triple Crown, first opened its doors on October 25, 1870, and is the second oldest racetrack in the United States. Pimlico has played host to racing icons and Baltimoreans have seen the likes of legendary horses such as Man o’ War, Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Affirmed, American Pharoah and Cigar thunder down the stretch in thrilling and memorable competition. For more information on Pimlico, visit www.pimlico.com.

The Stronach Group is North America’s leading Thoroughbred racetrack owner/operator. The Stronach Group racetracks include Santa Anita Park, Gulfstream Park & Casino, home of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational, Golden Gate Fields, Portland Meadows, Laurel Park and Pimlico Race Course, home of the world-famous Preakness. The company owns and operates the Palm Meadows Training Center in Florida and is one of North America’s top race horse breeders through its award-winning Adena Springs operation. The Stronach Group is one of the world’s largest suppliers of pari-mutuel wagering systems, technologies and services. Its companies include AmTote, a global leader in wagering technology; Xpressbet, an Internet and telephone account wagering service; and Monarch Content Management, which acts as a simulcast purchase and sales agent of horseracing content for numerous North American racetracks and wagering outlets. The Stronach Group is also a leading producer of social media content for the horseracing industry. For more information contact David Joseph at david.joseph@marylandracing.com or call 954.658.7156.