Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners' Coal Front was headed by American Pastime at the head of the stretch in Saturday's G3 Gallant Bob Stakes, but the 3-year-old son of Stay Thirsty refused to give in under jockey John Velazquez. Finding another gear at the eighth pole, Coal Front re-rallied to pull away from his rival, crossing under the wire a half-length in front of American Pastime. The Todd Pletcher trainee, favored alongside entry-mate Petrov at odds of 4-5, covered six furlongs on Parx' fast main track in 1:08.94.
Restricted to sophomores, the $300,000 Gallant Bob drew a field of 10 to sprint six furlongs. As expected, Coal Front was quick out of the gate along with Excitations, tracked by Petrov in third through a first quarter in 22 1/5 seconds. Aquamarine and Ann Arbor Eddie were up close as well. American Pastime was in about mid-pack while wide on the course, and began to move up toward the leaders at the half-mile pole.
Nearing the head of the lane, Aquamarine drew alongside Coal Front, and American Pastime joined them while three-wide on the far turn. Aquamarine dropped back as the half-mile time flashed in 45 1/5 seconds, but Coal Front dug in when he saw American Pastime at his shoulders.
Coal Front never allowed American Pastime to put his nose in front, and though the two were nearly even at the eighth pole, Coal Front showed he was very game as he drew away to win by half a length. American Pastime had to settle for second. Petrov managed to get up for third over Aquamarine.
Bred in Kentucky by Michael Edward Connelly, Coal Front was consigned to the OBS April sale by Kirkwood Stables. LaPenta purchased the colt for $575,000, and he responded by winning his first three starts in a row, including the G2 Amersterdam Stakes. Fifth last out in the H. Allen Jerkens (G1), Coal Front rebounded for the win in his second graded event. The Gallant Bob victory improves Coal Front's record to four wins from five starts for earnings of over $400,000.
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