Kingsport earned his third Sir Barton title on Sunday at Woodbine Racetrack with an impressive performance in the $100,000 stakes feature.
Trained by Sid Attard for Goldmart Farms and Royal Laser Racing, the six-year-old Milwaukee Brew-Green Jewel gelding first won the Sir Barton in 2015 and also took last year’s edition of the 1-1/16 mile event for Ontario-sired horses three years old and up.
Sent postward as the 8-5 favourite this time, Kingsport stalked the pace while racing on the outside in mid-pack as Silent Poet led the six-horse field through fractions of :24.92, :49.78 and 1:13.85. The defending champion then swept up three-wide outside of challenger Eskiminzin around the final turn and took off down the stretch to win by 3-3/4 lengths in 1:43.72. Silent Poet held on for second-place honours, finishing a half-length in front of the late-rallying Thor’s Rocket.
It was a bittersweet win for jockey Luis Contreras, who picked up the stakes assignment on Saturday after fellow reinsman Jesse Campbell had booked off following an incident in the paddock earlier in the day during which he was dismounted.
“It’s bad to see that happen today and I hope he’s okay and all the best for him to recover and come back quick,” said Contreras, who had faced Kingsport in previous races and had nothing but praise for the career winner of 11 races and nearly $900,000 in purses.
“He’s such a beautiful horse. He was in great shape. Like Sid told me, ‘He’s in great shape, just stay outside and be comfortable’ and I just wanted to be a great passenger.”
Campbell, who was taken to hospital for examination, was released this evening.
“I felt so bad for him,” said Attard. “He was dying to ride this horse today. He worked him twice and said, ‘Sid, this horse is in top shape. I can’t wait for Sunday,’ he told me.
“He [Kingsport] came to this race like, oh my god, I’ve never seen this horse. Too bad the season is over,” said Attard, who praised Contreras’ for subbing in last minute and working out the winning trip.
A four-time stakes winner this year, Kingsport paid $5.20, $3.30 and $2.10. He combined with Silent Poet ($4, $3) for an $18.10 exacta while a $1 trifecta ticket with Thor’s Rocket ($2.20) was worth $19.05. King and His Court finished fourth and completed the superfecta, which returned $32.85 for a $1 ticket.
Eskiminzin and Boreal Spirit rounded out the order of finish.
Live Thoroughbred racing resumes on Wednesday evening at 6:45 p.m.