Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners' Coal Front continued his preparations for the Grade 1, $1.2 million Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap when he breezed four furlongs in 50.55 seconds on Friday morning at Belmont for trainer Todd Pletcher.
The move was the son of Stay Thirsty's second work since an overseas triumph in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile on March 30 at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.
“I thought he worked really well, consistently with what we've been seeing before he went to Dubai,” Pletcher said. “It seemed like he shipped back with some good energy, good weight and all the all the signs that you would hope for coming back from a long trip like that. I was very happy with the breeze this morning and everything is going according to schedule so far.”
A five-time graded stakes winner at five different tracks, Coal Front has won three races in a row. Prior to his international endeavor, he won the Mr. Prospector on December 22 at Gulfstream Park and the Razorback on February 18 at Oaklawn Park. Both are Grade 3 events.
The colt was bred in Kentucky by Michael Edward Connelly, and LaPenta purchased Coal Front for $575,000 at Ocala Breeders Sales Company's 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale in April 2016.
Pletcher also spoke of Marconi, who won his second straight stakes race in Thursday evening's Flat Out and said that the well-bred son of Tapit would target the Grade 2 $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational as part of the Belmont Stakes Racing Festival on June 8.
In the 1 3/8-mile event over the main track, Marconi sat just off of pacesetter Tour de Force and took command at the top of the stretch to draw off by 2 ¾ lengths under a patient ride by Jose Lezcano.
“It was exactly the way that we thought it would unfold on paper,” Pletcher said. “We were able to get into a good comfortable gallop and I thought he ran a really big race.”
Owned by Bridlewood Farm, Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor, Marconi is a half-brother to 2013 Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man. He was a $2 million purchase from the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
Pletcher also noted that graded stakes winner Bellavais is possible for the Grade 1 $700,000 Longines Just a Game on Belmont Stakes Day. The daughter of Tapit breezed a half-mile in 49.90 seconds over the Belmont training track on Thursday morning. Two-time winner Last Judgment, ninth in the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs last Saturday as the second choice, will target the $150,000 Easy Goer.
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