Kirkwood Grad Coal Front Remains Perfect in Amsterdam G2 at Saratoga

Courtesy of the TDN

 $200,000 GII Amsterdam S. (6 1/2f) Coal Front, c, 3 by Stay Thirsty

Coal Front | Sarah Andrew

“TDN Rising Star” Coal Front kept his perfect record in tact and became the first graded stakes winner for his second-crop sire (by Bernardini) with this stylish front-running score in his stakes debut.

Sent to the front by Johnny Velazquez from his inside draw, the $575,000 OBSAPR buy held a narrow advantage through opening fractions of :22.37 and :45.90. The dark bay kicked for home in control, opened up a three-length lead in the stretch, and was never seriously threatened by Excitations, who rallied nicely from last of six to complete the exacta.

“We weren’t committed to the lead–the thing we were focused on was letting him break and kind of find his rhythm,” winning trainer Todd Pletcher said. “We knew he was fast, but we didn’t want to be in a speed duel, but we didn’t want to take away what is coming easy to him, either. We kind of left it in Johnny’s hands. Johnny said he was very relaxed, really comfortable. A really talented horse.”

Romping by 6 1/2 lengths on debut at Keeneland Apr. 20, Coal Front followed suit with a facile score in a first-level allowance at Belmont June 8. Sol Kumin’s Head of Plains Partners privately purchased a piece of the colt from Robert LaPenta following his last victory.

“It’s hard to win a race, much less the first three, and he beat a pretty strong group of older horses last time, and then to step up into a graded stakes, it just seems like he’s getting better and better,” Pletcher said.

As for what’s next, Pletcher added, “We talked about the [GI] Allen Jerkens [Aug. 26], we’ll see how he comes out of it. He’s a horse with a strong pedigree and enough talent to stretch out, when the time is right.”

Pedigree Notes:

Coal Front’s unraced dam Miner’s Secret, a half-sister to MGSW Woodlander (Forestry), is responsible for a yearling colt by Noble Mission (GB) and foaled a Pioneerof the Nile filly Feb. 28. She was bred back to Triple Crown hero American Pharoah.

Miner’s Secret went through the ring twice, bringing $250,000 from Reynolds Bell Jr., agent, at the 2006 KEESEP Yearling Sale and $52,000 from Coal Front’s breeder Michael Connelly in foal to War Pass at the 2009 KEENOV sale.

I’M BETTY G takes Pearl Necklace S at Laurel

I’M BETTY G broke her maiden last out at Indiana Grand.   Moving straight from that win into stakes company in the Pearl Necklace at Laurel, the Maryland bred filly  scored again.  She overcame a stumble breaking from the gate and went straight to the lead and stayed there to wire the field. She was a $150,000 sales graduate for Kirkwood sold to current owner Three Diamonds Farm. She is trained by Michael J. Maker.

GSW TOM’S READY takes the Leemat S at Presque Isle Downs

The well traveled TOM’S READY (More than Ready) made his appearance in the Leemat S at Presque Isle count, fighting a fierce stretch drive for the win.  At retirement,  he will stand at Spendthrift Farm following an agreement with owner GMB Racing to acquire the breeding rights to the son of More Than Ready. He has earned over $800,000.

Tom’s Ready was purchased & prepared for his racing career at Kirkwood.