BENSALEM, PA – Trainer Todd Pletcher’s Coal Front had to work hard from the start in order to put away a determined American Pastime in the final furlong to win Saturday’s Grade 3, $300,000 Gallant Bob Stakes at Parx Racing.
Jockey John Velazquez urged Coal Front to the lead after breaking quickly from post 6 and lead American Pastime by a head through early splits of :22.21 and :45.21. Exiting the far turn side by side, American Pastime briefly stuck a nose in front at the 1/8 pole before Coal Front re-rallied to gamely repel the challenge and edge his way back up, crossing the wire first by a 1/2 length in a final time of 1:08.94 for the 6-furlong main track sprint.
Petrov rode the rail near the front for much of the race but flattened out in the stretch run, crossing 5 1/2 lengths back in third. Aquamarine, Running Mate, Ann Arbor Eddie, Action Everyday, Glory Stars, Excitations, and Sonic Mule completed the order of finish.
Co-owned by Robert V. LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners, Coal Front’s win was his second graded stakes victory in three attempts. Last time out, he suffered his only career loss to date, finishing fifth in the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens after winning the Grade 2 Amsterdam. The 3-year-old son of Stay Thirsty increased his career earnings to $411,000 with a record of 5-4-0-0.
Pletcher may target the Breeders’ Cup Sprint on November 4 at Del Mar, depending on how Coal Front exits of this race.
Coal Front and Petrov, competing as a coupled entry, both returned $3.60 to win, $2.20 to place, and $2.60 to show. American Pastime brought back $3.40 to place and $3 to show.