Oakwood Stable’s Kensington Court went to the lead at the start of Saratoga Race Course’s $65,000 allowance hurdle, opened a 20-length lead in midrace, and rolled home to an overwhelming 14 1/4-length victory on Wednesday. Help From Heaven closed ground on the final backstretch run to finish second, and favored All for Us was 2 3/4 lengths farther back in third in a field of seven for Saratoga’s opening steeplechase race.
Trained by Julie Gomena, Kensington Court is a confirmed front-runner and set all the fractions in winning a Fair Hill maiden hurdle on May 28. The four-year-old Giant’s Causeway gelding opened a long lead by the second fence under Mark Watts and expanded his advantage to more than 15 lengths on the first run down Saratoga’s backstretch. After Kensington Court cleared the last of eight fences at the end of the second run down the backstretch, Watts glanced back, gave his mount a brief breather, and then headed for the finish line.
With two wins and a second this year, Kensington Court increased his 2016 bankroll to $63,600 and placed Gomena in third place on the trainer leader board with six wins. Kensington Court went off at 10.10-to-1 and paid $22.20 to win after running the allowance hurdle’s 2 1/16 miles in 3:48.57 on firm turf.
All for Us became the 1.95-to-1 favorite after Unsinkable refused to enter the turf course and was scratched. At the time, the race’s other front-runner was the 8-to-5 favorite.