Todd A. Pletcher Racing Stables, Inc.

Coal Front Continues Streak in Amsterdam

Coal Front Continues Streak in AmsterdamWinning his first two starts by a combined 9 1/4 lengths, Coal Front took another step forward in his short career when he extended his win streak to three races and picked up his first graded score in the July 29 $200,000 Amsterdam Stakes (G2)Watch Video

In the 6 1/2-furlong test for 3-year-olds, the Stay Thirsty   colt led the entire way and held off a driving Excitationsin the stretch to score by 1 1/2 lengths. The colt, owned by Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners, gave jockey John Velazquez and trainer Todd Pletcher their fourth wins of the day at Saratoga Race Course

"We weren't committed to the lead, the thing we were focused on was letting him break and kind of find his rhythm," 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. We kind of left it in Johnny's hands. Johnny said he was very relaxed, really comfortable. A really talented horse."

Before the Amsterdam, jockey Luis Saez needed help reigning in longshot Aquamarine in preparation for the start. Out of the gate, Coal Front broke evenly out of post 2 and assumed the lead along the rail as second choice Mo Cash pressed the pace in second and Singing Bullet tracked from third. 

Traveling through fractions of :22.37 and :45.90 for a half-mile, Coal Front had a three-length lead in the stretch as Excitations, under Javier Castellano, came surging from fifth. Coal Front held off his competition and hit the wire in a final time of 1:16.05 on a track rated fast. Excitations finished second, and Singing Bullet was third 7 1/2 lengths back. 

Mo Cash and Toga Challengercompleted the order of finish. Aquamarine was eased but was able to make it off the track under his own power.

Off at 3-5, Coal Front returned $3.20, $2.60, and $2.40 across the board. 

"It really worked out good," Velazquez said of the win. "We liked the post position and we wanted to get into position anyway. He broke really well. He settled really well where he was. It was pretty easy, really. He was playing around a little, and once I got serious with him, as soon as I let him know he needed to run, he responded right away."

In his debut in a six-furlong maiden race in April at Keeneland, Coal Front tracked the pace early and traveled five wide around the turn before drawing off for a 6 1/2-length score. 

And in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance at Belmont Park in June, he had difficulty loading but broke well and pressed the leader before taking over after a half-mile and holding on for a 2 3/4-length score. 

Coal Front has accumulated $216,000 from three wins and Pletcher said the colt could start next in the seven-furlong H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1) Aug. 26.

"It's hard to win a race, much less the first three," Pletcher said. "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.

"We talked about the Allen Jerkens, 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."

Bred by Michael Edward Connelly, Coal Front was a $575,000 purchase by LaPenta at the 2016 Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s April 2-year-olds in training auction. Out of the unraced Mineshaft   mare Miner's Secret, he is a half brother to graded-stakes placed Conquest Titan

Copyright © 2005 Todd A. Pletcher Racing Stables. All rights reserved.
Site Design by Hammond Communications Group, Inc. Primary Photography: Barbara D. Livingston