MUCHO GUSTO takes the G3 LAZARO BARRERA S at Santa Anita with ease

Courtesy of the TDN

Trainer Bob Baffert was out of luck Saturday in Maryland, but “TDN Rising Star” Mucho Gusto provided at least some measure of consolation when proving too strong for five other rivals in the G3 Laz Barrera S. The prohibitive favorite hit the ground running from the inside gate and raced inside in a line of three vying for the early lead, but Joe Talamo took a quick look to his right and asked Mucho Gusto for a bit of acceleration to give themselves a bit of breathing room for the run up the backstretch. Settled nicely in the middle stages and held together into the final quarter-mile, Mucho Gusto repelled a challenge from Vantastic at the threesixteenths pole, responded to a couple of left-handed whips to pinch a break into the ultimate furlong and strode home a daylight winner.

Accorded “Rising Star” status after besting Vantastic by four lengths on Los Alamitos debut last September, he led throughout to take Del Mar’s G3 Bob Hope S. Nov. 17 before finishing runner-up to fellow “Rising Star” Improbable (City Zip) in the GI Los Alamitos Futurity. The chestnut looked to be among Baffert’s top Classic hopes when running out a decisive winner of the G3 Robert B. Lewis S. in February, but he was beaten six lengths into third in the G3 Sunland Derby Mar. 24 and was forced to regroup.

Pedigree Notes: A $14,000 short yearling at Keeneland January in 2017, Mucho Gusto improved to be a $95,000 Keeneland September buy, but was bought back on a bid of just $55,000 at OBS March last spring. But the chestnut blossomed–to put it mildly–and was purchased by Michael Lund Petersen for $625,000 (consigned by Kirkwood) at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale after spectacularly breezing a quarter over a rain-affected strip in :21 1/5.

FIRE FOR EFFECT takes allowance at Woodbine – win #4

5 year old FIRE FOR EFFECT (Smart Strike) was claimed recently by trainer Norman McKnight for Newtop Stables. He made good on the claim quickly by winning an allowance race at Woodbine going 1 1/16 on the all-weather surface. Today he added a second win to his new team racing 7 furlongs on the all weather surface making a bid at the top of the stretch and clearing the field to win by 1 3/4 lengths.

Lifetime Record: 20-4-2-3,$144,559

WRITTEN WORD (GB) graduates in a MSW at Laurel

Making her first North American start, WRITTEN WORD (GB), (Mount Nelson (GB)) raced to a MSW win going 1 1/6 on the turf at Laurel. She rated inside behind a speed duel, eventually found her way 3 wide and surged to the wire to win by 1/2.   Bred in England by Newsells Park Stud (GB), she is owned by Mrs. P. K.  Cooper, and  Russell B.  Jones, Jr.

Courtesy of the TDN
3rd-Laurel, $42,800, Msw, 4-13, 3yo, f, 7f, 1:26.06, ft.
APPEALING HONOR (f, 3, Quality Road–Quanah County {MSP}, by Valid Expectations) was let go at 5-1 off a fairly unassuming series of drills over both dirt and synthetic at Fair Hill. She broke very professionally, but found one quicker early and was content to sitsecond out in the clear. Poking a head in front and confidently ridden after a half in :47.59, she left her competition in the dust despite never figuring out her lead changes. After Jody (Bodemeister) completed the exacta 3 1/2 lengths adrift. The winner is a half to Quantum Miss (Smoke Glacken), GSW, $251,950; Tonasah (Malibu Moon), MGSP, $196,660; and an unnamed 2-year-old filly by Honor Code who was a $100,000 KEENOV weanling and $150,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga buyback. Sales history: $15,000 Wlg ’16 KEENOV; $95,000 2yo ’18 EASMAY. Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, $22,800.
O-Frank V. Demarco;
B-Twin Hopes Farm, LLC (KY);
T-Louis Albertrani.

MILTONTOWN graduates at Keeneland

Courtesy of the TDN
11th-Keeneland, $78,860, Msw, 4-13, 3yo, 6f, 1:11.90, ft.

MILTONTOWN (c, 3, Speightstown–Forest Legend, by Forest Camp), fifth in his debut sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs at Churchill last November, was well beaten in three subsequent route starts at the Fair Grounds, including the latest a sixth-place effort Feb. 16. Last time, he was cut back to six furlongs and ran an improved fourth, beaten 3/4 of a length Mar. 5. Sent off at 9-2 to get the job done this time, he was shuffled back to seventh as Kulik Bear (Curlin) carved out an opening quarter in :22.97. Starting to get his legs under him leaving the quarter pole, Miltontown was several paths wide turning into the stretch, ground his way to the front late and bested Kulik Bear by 1 1/2 lengths at the wire. Favored firster Unshaken (Tapit) wasfourth). Forest Legend produced a colt by City Zip in 2017 followed by a filly by Lemon Drop Kid last season. She was bred back to Connect. Sales history: $25,000 RNA Wlg ’16 KEENOV; $80,000 Ylg ’17 KEESEP. Lifetime Record: 6-1-0-0, $52,260.
O-G M B Racing;
B-G. Watts Humphrey Jr. & St. George Farm, LLC (KY)
T-Dallas Stewart

SW REALM 3rd in the Skip Away at Gulfstream

Winner of the Alydar last summer at Saratoga and also multiply graded stakes placed , REALM (Haynesfield) added to his laurels running third in the Skip Away at Gulfstream. He dueled on or close to the lead and could not quite hold on for the win. He missed by 1/2 a length and a neck. The 6 year old gelding has earned over $365,000 for owners Eric Dattner, Harry Astarita and owner/trainer Barclay Tagg.


Coal Front and Jose Ortiz take the Godolphin Mile at Meydan
Coal Front and Jose Ortiz take the Godolphin Mile at Meydan

Mathea Kelley/Dubai Racing Club

Coal Front Edges Heavy Metal to win Godolphin Mile

Coal Front earned most lucrative win of career in $1.5 million Godolphin Mile (G2).

Coal Front rallied sharply in deep stretch to catch frontrunning defending champion Heavy Metal and win the $1.5 million Godolphin Mile Sponsored by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City—District One (G2) by three-quarters of a length March 30 at Meydan.

Coal Front, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Jose Ortiz—in his first Dubai World Cup Day race—waited well back of the early battle between Heavy Metal and the international favorite, Muntazah. Heavy Metal began to edge clear as the field hit the Meydan Racecourse stretch.

Ortiz, however, had kept Coal Front wide of the leaders and in the clear and was in full flight 200 meters from home, closing ground on the tiring, 9-year-old leader. He hit the lead five strides short of the wire in the one-turn, 1,600-meter (about one-mile) test and finished in 1:36.51.

“He’s a frontrunner,” Ortiz said. “Being where I was, I didn’t want to put him behind horses and take the kickback. I was happy where I was. Coal Front was a tough customer. But we had it. I was riding for the win.”

Muntazah, winner of the local prep for the Godolphin Mile, held off surging Kimbear to salvage third by a short head.

Coal Front, a 5-year-old Stay Thirsty  ridgling, came to Dubai after a victory in the Feb. 18 Razorback Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn Park in his first start of the year. He closed an abbreviated 2018 campaign with a win in the Dec. 22 Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park. As a 3-year-old, he won the Gallant Bob Stakes (G3) at Parx Racing and the Amsterdam Stakes (G2) at Saratoga Race Course.

Bred in Kentucky by Michael Edward Connelly out of the Mineshaft  mare Miner’s Secret and owned by Robert LaPenta and Sol Kumin’s Head of Plains Partners, Coal Front now has seven wins from nine starts. Saturday’s score marked the most lucrative of his career, earning $900,000.

LaPenta said the owners and Pletcher, who scored his first win on a World Cup card, debated whether to even send Coal Front to Dubai because they didn’t know if he’d handle the travel.

“Up until three weeks ago, we spent a lot of time on this,” LaPenta said. “He’s very nervous, and we thought about the travel, the quarantine, all those things. Should we go? Todd did a great job.”

LaPenta said he was worried as Heavy Metal took a substantial lead in the stretch.

“What was going through my mind at the sixteenth pole was, ‘Call a doctor!'” he said. “He is a frontrunning horse. This time, he had to catch a horse. We’re so proud of him.”

LaPenta said there are no firm plans for Coal Front’s future.

Consigned by Kirkwood Stables to the 2016 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training, Coal Front went to LaPenta for $575,000. His dam produced an American Pharoah  colt in 2018 and was bred to Arrogate  for 2019.

USA Scores First In Dubai – Kirkwood consigned COAL FRONT wins the G2 Godolphin Mile

Courtesy of the TDN

2nd at Mey, Gr. Stk, $1,500,000 G2 Godolphin Mile (1600m) Winner: Coal Front, r, 5 by Stay Thirsty

Coal Front |

‘TDN Rising Star’ Coal Front (Stay Thirsty–Miner’s Secret, by Mineshaft), the last-out winner of the G3 Razorback H. at Oaklawn Park, notched a victory for the U.S. in the opening Thoroughbred race of the Dubai World Cup card at Meydan when getting up in the dying strides to clinch the G2 Godolphin Mile under Jose Ortiz. Defending Godolphin Miler winner Heavy Metal (GB) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}) set the pace and looked to have gotten away at the top of the lane, but the lightly raced progressive 5-year-old Coal Front gradually wore away that lead and got up within the final furlong.
Lifetime Record: 9-7-0-0.
O-LaPenta, Robert V. and Head of Plains Partners LLC.
B-Michael Edward Connelly  (KY).
T-Todd Pletcher
Sold at OBS April for $575,000

MUCHO GUSTO settles for 3rd in the Sundland Park Derby G3

Courtesy of the TDN
‘TDN Rising Star’
 Mucho Gusto (Mucho Macho Man) had to settle for the show position in the  GIII Sunland Park Derby. He went to the lead and was pressed by one or another continuously through quick fractions and could not hold on for the win. Following his impressive debut win at Los Alamitos with a victory in the GIII Bob Hope S. Nov. 17, the $625,000 EASMAY buy suffered his lone loss when second to stablemate and fellow ‘Rising Star’ Improbable (City Zip) in the GI Los Alamitos Futurity Dec. 8. The chestnut rebounded with a decisive score in the 1 1/16-mile GIII Robert B. Lewis over a sloppy Santa Anita surface Feb. 2.
T: Bob Baffert
Owner: Michael Lund Petersen
Lifetime: 5 3 1 1 $310,800