Kingly became Tapit’s milestone 75th graded stakes winner after the 3-year-old colt set the pace and clung on to the bitter end in the $150,000 Grade III La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar this weekend.
A talented runner from the power-packed barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, Kingly gamely withstood the late challenge of 9-5 favored Neptune’s Storm to win Sunday’s featured race.
After setting a swift pace under jockey Mario Gutierrez, Kingly, off at odds of 8-1, had enough left to hold off Neptune’s Storm and prevail by a neck in a fast 1:39.95 for the mile and one-sixteenth over the infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
Jasikan, winner of the opening-day Runhappy Oceanside Stakes, closed steadily to be third, three and one-quarter lengths behind Neptune’s Storm and a length and one-half ahead of fourth-place Rijeka in the field of eight three-year-olds.
Kingly, a son of Tapit out of stakes winner Justwhistledixie, is owned by Clearview Stable and RAC 04 Racing. The La Jolla marked his third victory in eight starts, including a first place in the California Derby. First money of $90,000 increased the colt’s earnings to $242,200.
Tapit stands for $225,000 at Gainesway.