Kinsale King Tunes Up For Dubai Title Defense With Smart Victory At Golden Gate Fields

Kinsale King Tunes Up For Dubai Title Defense With Smart Victory At Golden Gate Fields

     Kinsale King tuned up for his upcoming title defense in the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen by posting an impressive front-running victory at Golden Gate Fields Thursday.

     Kinsale King, trained by Carl O’Callaghan, won the 2010 Golden Shaheen at Meydan Racecourse by a half-length over Rocket Man.  The 6-year-old gelding will try to repeat in the rich six-furlong stakes on March 26 at Meydan.
 
     Thursday’s six-furlong allowance race at Golden Gate Fields marked Kinsale King’s first start of the year and was vital in keeping the Kentucky-bred on track for another visit to Dubai.  Kinsale King hadn’t raced since Nov. 6, when he finished seventh in the   Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs.

     Southern California-based jockey Mike Smith rode Kinsale King in a race for the first time Thursday and the Hall of Famer had his charge take command immediately.  Kinsale King led through solid fractions of :22.50 (opening quarter of a mile) and :44.87 (half-mile) en route to winning the race in a quick 1:09.57.

     Kinsale King defeated Shudacudawudya by three-quarters of a length and paid $3.20 as the 3-to-5 favorite in a field of five.  Paul’s Hope finished third.

     “That was perfect,” said an exuberant O’Callaghan after the race.  “Mike worked with him at home and everything worked out great.  He should get a lot out of this race.  This puts us in a good spot.  We’ll go home (to Hollywood Park) and get ready for Dubai.”

     Smith said his initial voyage aboard Kinsale King required little on his part.

     “I just pretty much stayed on,” said Smith.  “Carl had him ready to go today.  This horse loves to play cat and mouse with other horses.  He does it the mornings (during workouts).  He’ll let them get up along side him and then kick away.  I was confident the whole way.  I never touched him (with the whip).”

     O’Callaghan said he was very anxious going into Thursday’s feature.

     “I was so nervous about this race,” said O’Callaghan.  “I felt like a cat inside a dog show.  We missed some training in January due to bad weather.  We needed this race.  We’re real happy now.”

     Kinsale King, owned by Patrick Sheehy, has six wins and two thirds in 12 career starts.  Kinsale King earned $23,400 for winning Thursday’s Dubai prep and has banked $1,502,320 in his dozen races.