Barbaro sweeps to Derby success

Barbaro stretched his unbeaten record to six with a brilliant performance in the 132nd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

Barbaro stretched his unbeaten record to six with a brilliant performance in the 132nd Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

The Michael Matz-trained clt powered clear of his rivals in the straight to win unchallenged by six and a half lengths in the hands of Edgar Prado.

Bluegrass Cat was second with Steppenwolfer third. Jazil and Brother Derek dead-heated for fourth place.

Home bred at Lael Stable, Barbaro is only the sixth unbeaten winner of the first leg of the American Triple Crown.

The 6-1 chance gave Roy Jackson and his wife, Gretchen, a rare double as breeders of both the Kentucky Derby and the Stan James 2000 Guineas in the same yer after George Washington landed the Newmarket Classic earlier in the day.

“It’s just a dream come true for us. We just feel terribly glad to be here,” said Jackson.

He and his wife live on a 190-acre Lael Farm in West Grove, Pennsylvania, where they have bred and raced horses for almost 30 years.

After stumbling at the start, Barbaro was manoeuvred by Prado into an ideal position at the first turn, tracking early leaders Keyed Entry and Sinister Minister. They took the 20-strong field along at a furious pace, the first half-mile being covered in 46 seconds.

Always travelling on the bridle Barbaro was unleashed around the home turn and soon burst clear of his rivals.

Once he led just before the home turn, he had burnt off the opposition before the furlong pole and strode away for an easy win, completing the mile and a quarter in two minutes 1.36 seconds.

Barbaro romped home by the biggest margin since Triple Crown winner Assault struck by eight lengths 60 years ago.

Matz said “I was only confident when he was clear. At that point I just said don’t fall down. I can’t be more pleased.”

Matz had been criticised for leaving a five-week gap between Barbaro’s previous start in the Florida Derby and Kentucky but the trainer, a former Olympic show jumper, was never worried.

“He trained extremely well since he arrived from Florida. Five weeks was never going to be a problem,” he said.

“I told Edgar in the paddock to go and win our first Kentucky Derby.”

Matz paid a special tribute to his assistant, Peter Brette, who had ridden Barbaro in his work.

“You can see he was conditioned well. Peter did a wonderful job riding the horse.”

Prado said: “This feels unbelievable – the best and I was confident. This is America, the land where dreams come true.

“He stumbled a little coming out of the gate, but it wasn’t too bad. He was doing everything so easy.

“He was galloping along so easy on the backside I gave him a breather.

“All through the race I had a lot of confidence and when I turned him loose he took off like a rocket.”

Prado is confident Barbaro can become the first Triple Crown winner winner in 28 years.

“He is a very nice horse and hopefully we can get a Triple Crown out of him,” he added.

Irish bookmakers Cashmans quote Barbaro, now unbeaten in six starts, at 9-4 to complete the American Triple Crown by going on to win the Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

Sweetnorthernsaint, who was sent off favourite, finished seventh while another fancied runner, Lawyer Ron, was well-beaten in 12th.

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