King Of Gosford Clicks Photo in Desert Code 

May 20, 2024

King Of Gosford. (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

European import now 3-for-3 with 2 stakes wins in the U.S.

Santa Anita Press Box

ARCADIA, Calif.—King of Gosford continued his winning ways Sunday when narrowly prevailing in the $100,000 Desert Code Stakes for 3-year-olds on the hillside turf course. The European import is now 3-for-3 with two stakes wins in the U.S. for trainer Phil D’Amato.

Dispatched as the 3-5 favorite, King of Gosford and jockey Antonio Fresu needed the entire stretch to edge past stubborn pacesetter All That Glory (5-1) and score by a neck. Finishing another 1 ¾ lengths back in third was 5-2 second choice Guy Named Joe.

King of Gosford broke sharply, and the lead was there for the taking, but Fresu was content to let All That Glory and fellow Italian Umberto Rispoli grab the early lead. All That Glory proceeded to set comfortable fractions of 22.28 and 44.26 seconds with King of Gosford lapped to his outside. All That Glory, making his stakes debut for trainer Tim Yakteen, continued to battle gamely before yielding grudgingly.

“I knew that Umberto’s horse had more speed than my horse because I rode All That Glory last time,” Fresu said. “So, I just tried to keep track. Just stay right on his flank. My horse was always travelling beautifully on the bridle, and I was just waiting for the right time to go.”

The winning time for about 6 ½ furlongs on firm turf was 1:12.02.

King of Gosford paid $3.40, $2.40 and $2.10. All That Glory returned $4.80 and $2.60, and Guy Named Joe paid $2.20 to show.

Bred in England, King of Gosford made six starts in Ireland before shipping stateside. The 3-year-old Zoustar colt is now 9: 4-0-1 with $169,192 in earnings. In his two prior U.S. starts, both at Santa Anita, King of Gosford won both a first-level allowance at six furlongs on turf March 10 and the John Shear Stakes on the hillside turf course April 7.

D’Amato said King of Gosford will now be pointed to the Oceanside Stakes at one mile on turf on opening day at Del Mar July 20.

Live racing resumes Friday with a nine-race card starting at 1 p.m. PT.

$100,000 Desert Code Stakes Quotes

Jockey Quotes

Antonio Fresu, King Of Gosford, Winner: “Last time no one really went to the front, so I took the lead pretty easy. Today, I knew that Umberto’s horse had more speed than my horse because I rode that All That Glory last time.  So, I just tried to keep track. Just stay right on his flank. My horse was always travelling beautifully on the bridle, and I was just waiting for the right time to go. He’s a very nice horse, obviously Phil D’Amato is doing a wonderful job with him and putting him in the right spots. He is proving to be a really nice horse and let’s see what the future holds for him.”  

King Of Gosford under Antonio Fresu. (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)
King Of Gosford under Antonio Fresu. (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

Trainer Quotes

Phil D’Amato, King Of Gosford, Winner: “It kind of didn’t go that fast and both of them kicked home well. Antonio thought that other horse got his head in front and he just kind of kept him measured. It was a nice performance and we think we will be going to Del Mar.

Owner Quotes

Michael Nentwig, Co-Owner, King Of Gosford, Winner: “The Benowitz clan was about 0 for 40 (down the hill) and the last two starts we broke the curse and now we’ve kept going. I expected the pace to be a little faster. I figured Antonio would be sitting second or third. I thought he did the right thing and getting the horse in the clear, go to the outside, and accelerated down the stretch it was a fight. He likes to wait a little bit when he makes the lead so he can get a little cheeky sometimes.

“We have been trying since we bought the horse, to go two turns, so we are going to point him to the Oceanside (July 20, Del Mar) if everything goes well.”  

Great read! Thanks @jonathanstettin Feels like you’re sitting across the table breaking down the day with the expert pastthewire.com/to-b-or-not-to…

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