Neither a surface chance nor an unfamiliar racetrack jeopardized Break Even's unblemished record as the even-money favorite surged to the front and fended off Eyeinthesky's late-stretch charge for a one-length win in the eighth running of the $100,000 Coronation Cup for 3-year-old fillies on Sunday to cap the opening week at Saratoga Race Course.
Klein Racing's Break Even entered her Spa debut 5-for-5, with all wins on the main track and three against stakes company. Trainer Brad Cox switched the Country Day filly to turf, and she responded by breaking sharp under jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, leading the six-horse field through an opening quarter-mile in 21.03 seconds and the half in 43.50 on the Mellon turf course listed as firm.
Out of the turn, Break Even maintained the advantage, though the Mark Casse-trained Eyeinthesky, under jockey Joel Rosario, challenged late. But Bridgmohan used right-handed encouragement to lead Break Even to the wire as she completed 5 ½ furlongs in a final time of 1:01.59 to stay undefeated.
“She does it easy. It's not a run off. She's very relaxed,” said winning owner Bob Klein. “We've had a lot of nice horses, but this may be the nicest we've ever had. To start 6-for-6; she's been at five different racetracks; she's been on the turf, slop, dirt, seven-eighths, three-quarters, five and a half [furlongs]. She'll do whatever you ask her to do.”
Break Even, bred in Kentucky by Richard and Bert Klein, was coming off a victory in the Jersey Girl on June 9 at Belmont Park in which she registered a career-best 99 Beyer Speed Figure, following her graded stakes-debut win in the Grade 2 Eight Belles on the Churchill Downs main track in May. She returned $4.20 on a $2 win bet and improved her career earnings to $424,900 in garnering stakes blacktype on both dirt and turf.
“She has been so special from day one. She means a lot to me,” Bridgmohan said. “She's so laid back and does everything so professionally. That's why I took an affinity to her. Not only is she fast but she's talented.
“Her first time on the turf and she broke and wanted to go,” he added. “At first, I tried to slow her down and she didn't want to. She'd won five in a row, so I said, 'OK, let me be a good passenger and stay out of her way.' Speed is her asset and she has a lot of class about her. She's a very classy filly. She runs on anything. She's won on fast, sloppy, turf. Whatever you put her on, she's game.”
Klein said the Grade 2, $250,000 Prioress at six furlongs on the Saratoga main track on August 31 remains a possibility.
“I know what her distance limitations are, and that's one of the reasons we thought about this race, as opposed to the Test, because there was a lot of speed,” Klein said. “This is a deep, tiring track on the dirt going seven furlongs. Brad talked me into this and I said, 'I want to do what's best for the horse.'”
Gary Barber's Eyeinthesky outdistanced Bohemian Bourbon by 1 ½ lengths for second in her first Saratoga start since running sixth in the Grade 3 Schuylerville last July.
“They were really smoking up front,” Rosario said. “I would like to have saved a little more ground in the turn, but she came with a good run. It was a good effort.”
Rounding out the field was Midnight Fantasy, My Galina and Lyrical Lady. I'llhandalthecash, A Bit of Both and Abyssinian were scratched.
Live racing resumes Wednesday at Saratoga with a 10-race card, highlighted by the $100,000 Rick Violette for New York-bred 2-year-olds going six furlongs in Race 2. First post is 12:50 p.m. Eastern.
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