Jim King Jr., Welcome To The Adios

Lyons Surfing
Published: July 21, 2023 09:40 am EDT

Jim King Jr. has trained such champions as 2019 U.S. Horse of the Year Shartin and multiple Dan Patch and O'Brien Award winner Lyons Sentinel. He guided Captain Cowgirl to consecutive Pennsylvania Sire Stakes titles. Yet somehow, in a training career spanning nearly 8,000 starts, he’s never had a horse in the Delvin Miller Adios Pace for the Orchids.

Until now. King’s Adios-less streak will end on Saturday (July 22) when he sends out Lyons Surfing in an Adios elimination.

Saturday’s card features two elims for the $450,000 (est.) Adios as well as Pennsylvania Sire Stakes action. First post is 12:45 p.m., with the elims set as races seven and eight. On Saturday, July 29, Adios Day is headlined by the Adios final as well as five other Grand Circuit stakes. Adios Day post time is 11:45 a.m.

King attributes his Adios-appearance goose egg largely to two factors. First, most of his better young horses have been fillies. Indeed, Captain Cowgirl was eligible to take on the boys in last year’s Adios, but King opted to race her in the Quinton Patterson Adioo Volo, the companion feature for three-year-old filly pacers. There, she was upset as the 1-5 favourite by Sweet Kisses.

King also notes that, until recently, his budget has forced him to plan stakes engagements prudently.

“Most horses I’ve had have been on the cheaper end, so I had to be careful when making stakes payments,” he said. “I made the two-year-old payments with some but usually didn’t continue with the three-year-old payments.”

That changed when King hooked up with Threelyonsracing, which campaigned Lyons Sentinel and owns Lyons Surfing and other standouts in King’s stable.

“They want to make those payments,” said King. “They want to be in the major races.”

That’s certainly the case with Lyons Surfing, a $110,000 yearling acquisition who banked more than $163,000 at two with a mark of 1:50.1 at the Red Mile. But he’s been something of a disappointment this year with nary a win in nine starts. King, though, remains hopeful, pointing to the big mile the son of Stay Hungry-Surfside Sexy achieved in an elimination of the Pepsi North America Cup when he was wide throughout and still finished second in 1:49.1, last quarter in :26.4.

“It was a brilliant trip,” said King. “When a horse is first over that far out, he usually doesn’t make the final let alone finish second. He’s raced very well at The Meadows before, and I certainly feel he’ll be a contender. I guess it’s the way he feels about it that’s important.”

Lyons Surfing goes from post three, race seven, with Tim Tetrick driving. Win, lose or draw, King is delighted to get off his Adios-appearance schneid.

“Is it a milestone? Sure it is,” he said. “It’s a milestone anytime you get to a major stakes, as the Adios certainly is. That’s your goal. That’s why people go to sales and spend that kind of money.”

(Meadows Standardbred Owners Association)

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