King Guillermo raced the field off their feet en route to a 4-3/4 length victory at odds of 49-1 in the thirty-ninth edition of the Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday (March 10). The victory, worth 50 qualifying points for the 146th Kentucky Derby on May 2 at Churchill Downs, places the Kentucky-bred son of Uncle Mo in the starting for the first jewel in the Triple Crown.
Obviously the colt’s connections had much to rejoice over with the $100.40 mutuel payout, the second-largest in the history of the race and owner Victor Martinez, a five time All-Star who retired in 2018 after 17 seasons in Major League Baseball, collected his breakthrough triumph as a racehorse owner.
“This is absolutely something else,” said Martinez, as well as stating nothing in his storied career was akin to this feeling.
King Guillermo was named after Martinez’ father, who died when he was a young age.
“I thank God for this opportunity and putting a great horse in my hands,” said Martinez. “I always wanted to name a horse for my dad.”
With Samy Camacho in the irons, King Guillermo broke on the muscle to lead the field as only Relentless Dancer (21-1) contested the pace entering the first turn. After passing the half mile marker, King Guillermo challenged his rival and they remained locked in a duel until the top of the stretch, when Relentless Dancer had decided enough was enough.
The two horses had far outdistanced the rest of the field and when King Guillermo assumed command he had built an impressive lead.
Camacho and King Guillermo stopped the clock in 1:42.63 which is less than a second behind the stakes record of 1:41.90 established by Tactitus just last year.
King Guillermo now has raced four times. He was sixth in his September debut on the Gulfstream Park West dirt prior to winning on turf at that same facility, finished third behind Sole Volante in the ungraded Pulpit Stakes in late November at Gulfstream in his most recent previous start.
Sole Volante, favored at 3-2 as the last-out winner of the Sam F. Davis Stakes here four weeks beforehand, closed resolutely to be second, another 1 3/4 lengths before Texas Swing. Relentless Dancer faded to fourth, while Chance It, the 5-2 second choice, was not much of a factor when fifth.
The $2 exacta (11-7) paid $719.60, the $1 trifecta (11-7-1) returned $2,238.60, and the 10-cent superfecta (11-7-1-3) was worth $2,694.24.
King Guillermo is trained by Juan C. Avila, who earned his first graded stakes victory in the U.S. earlier in the card. He is from Venezuela.
Trainer Juan C. Avila said Sunday (March 8) that King Guillermo will remain at his home track, Gulfstream Park, before being sent to Kentucky to compete in the Derby at a date still to be determined. The colt earned a 99 Beyer Speed Figure when finishing the 1-1/16-mile distance in the Grade II $340,000 race.
King Guillermo was not nominated to the Triple Crown and have opted to submit the $6,000 fee to make him eligible to participate.
Mischievous Alex remains on track for Derby
Mischevious Alex won for the third consecutive time Saturday (March 7) at Aqueduct, taking the Grade 3, $300,000 Gotham Stakes by two lengths. Fellow South Florida shippers Untitled and Attachment Rate, separated by a head, finished second and third, respectively.
It was the third straight victory in a one-turn stakes race for Mischevious Alex, who last month won the Grade 3 Swale Stakes by seven lengths at Gulfstream and last November won the Parx Juvenile Stakes by 9 3/4 lengths. He was ridden by Kendrick Carmouche.
The horse covered the mile in 1:38.80 – the second-fastest of six one-mile races on the card – and returned $5.50 as the 8-5 favorite. He won by two lengths
It was the third straight victory for Mischevious Alex, a son of Into Mischief, and his fourth from seven starts overall. He is 3 for 3 since trainer John Servis added blinkers.
Owned by Chuck Zacney and Glenn Barnett, who also owned 2005 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Afleet Alex, Mischievous Alex exited Saturday’s victory in good order. He received 50 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby and earned a Beyer Speed figure of 90 for the Gotham.
“He looked really good, ate up good, happy,” Servis who trained 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Smarty Jones, told the Daily Racing Form Sunday morning. “I’ve got to sit down with Chuck and Glenn and figure out if we want to run him again [before the Derby].”
Zacney stated after the race the next intended target for the horse would be the Wood Memorial on April 4 at Aqueduct. It would supply Mischievous Alex with experience around two turns and the 1-1/8 mile distance.
“The last thing I want him to do is run a bang-up race in the Wood and then bounce in the Derby,” Servis said to the Daily Racing Form. “I’ll sit down with Chuck and Glenn Bennett and see what they think. Right now, I don’t know if I’m going to run him again before the Derby.”
Authentic remains undefeated with San Vincente score
On Saturday (March 7) Authentic continued to impress as the unbeaten sophomore scored a front-running victory in the Grade 2 $401,000 San Felipe Stakes held at Santa Anita Park.
Although he stumbled at the start, Authentic otherwise was in command and won by 2-1/4 lengths over highly though of Honor A.P., who competing for the first time in five months. Last year’s champion 2-year-old colt, Storm the Court kept pace early but weakened late to come home third, 3-1/2 lengths behind Honor A.P.
Thousand Words, who was undefeated in three starts, came home fourth, 5-1/2 lengths behind Storm the Court. Wrecking Crew, Fort McHenry and Swagsational completed the order of finish.
Authentic stopped the clock over the fast main track in 1:43.56 after fractions of :22.84, :46.71, 1:11.32 and 1:36.69. He collected 50 points for the victory and was guided by regular pilot, Drayden Van Dyke.
“Pretty exciting to have a horse like this,” said Bob Baffert, who trains Authentic for a partnership that includes SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Fred Hertrich III, John Fielding, and Golconda Stables after the race. “He glides over the ground, like a gazelle.”
Authentic is by top sire Into Mischief and will meet Honor A.P. again in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby on April 4. The million-dollar race, contested at 1-1/8 will be the final prep race for both horses prior to date in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 2.
After yesterday’s win, Authentic, “acts like he didn’t even run,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “He’s a happy dude.
“It showed he must have great heart and lungs, because he was just galloping.”
Authentic got a Beyer Speed Figure of 98. He is guaranteed a spot in the Derby field.
“Think about who went in the race – an undefeated colt, a multiple graded stakes winner, and the 2-year-old champ,” Honor A.P.’s trainer John Shirreffs told the Daily Racing Form, referencing, respectively, Authentic, Thousand Words, and Storm the Court. “It doesn’t come much saltier than that.