George and Lori Hall’s
homebred Coco Ecolo was winless in three starts until she got to Monmouth Park.
Since then, it’s been a win-win situation for trainer Kelly Breen.
The 3-year-old daughter of
Johannesburg, who broke her maiden here May 21 and won a first-level allowance
here June 12, steps up in company to meet six foes in Saturday’s $75,000
Serena’s Song Stakes, a prep for the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks on Aug. 13.
“She looks good and she’s
training good,” Breen said. “This is a big race for her. If she runs well, the
Oaks would be the natural progression.”
Coco Ecolo made her debut on
Feb. 27 over the inner track at Aqueduct, and ran third in a sprint. She came
back on March 20 and ran third in her first try around two turns. Breen tried
her on yielding turf on April 15, and the filly set all the pace for
three-quarters before tiring to be sixth.
“We started training her in
late fall at Aqueduct,” Breen said. “It was hard to get her fit over the inner
track. She had to race herself fit.
“The first two starts were
okay. She got tired, but it was part of the learning process. She has some
grass pedigree, so we tried her on turf. It helped her get fit.
“In her first race here, she
won by daylight, but the reins were dangling, and she was running out of gas at
the end,” the trainer said.
“Then in her last race, she
finally put it all together. It looked like she wanted to run, and she kept on
running right to the wire.”
The Serena’s Song, at a mile
and 70 yards, came up a wide-open event with all seven fillies in with a
chance. Coco Ecolo is one of four Monmouth-trained runners in the race, joining
Withgreatpleasure, Salary Drive
The ship-ins are Street
Storm, trained by Steve Margolis; Miss Valentine, from Christophe Clement’s
barn, and the Franny Campitelli-trained Art of the Hunt.