Courtesy of the BloodHorse
Rebounding from a third-place finish in the Monmouth Cup Stakes (G3), Coal Front turned back a second-turn bid from Diamond King and inched clear from that rival for a three-quarter-length victory in the $153,500 Parx Dirt Mile Stakes Sept. 21 on the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) undercard.
Under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, Coal Front sped to the early lead, setting relatively easy opening splits of :23.90 and :47.34. Then as the six-horse field advanced down the backstretch, Diamond King, who was perched on the outside, dialed up the pressure. He cut into Coal Front’s lead before poking a neck in front with a six-furlong split in 1:11.63.
Smith had something saved aboard his mount, and under urging down the lane, Coal Front asserted his superiority over the final furlong. He hit the wire with his ears pricked, finishing in 1:37.53 for a mile on a fast track at Parx Racing.
The Parx Dirt Mile was the third stakes victory of Coal Front’s 5-year-old campaign. He won the Godolphin Mile Sponsored by Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City-District One (G2) at Meydan in Dubai Mar. 30 and the Razorback Handicap (G3) at Oaklawn Park Feb. 18. A year before, he won the Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park, and in 2017 he won both the Gallant Bob Stakes (G3) at Parx and the Amsterdam Stakes (G2) at Saratoga Race Course.
Owned by Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners, Coal Front raced in the Parx Dirt Mile in part as a test of his aptitude for a race such the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Santa Anita Park Nov. 2, trainer Todd Pletcher said before the race.
Bred in Kentucky by Michael Edward Connelly, Coal Front, by Stay Thirsty , is the first graded stakes winner out of the Mineshaft dam Miner’s Secret. A half brother to stakes winner Conquest Titan, he was a $575,000 purchase by LaPenta from the 2016 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training.
The heavy favorite, Coal Front paid $3.40 to win and elevated his bankroll to over $1.81 million. He has an 8-0-1 record from 12 starts