Coal Front survives stretch duel to win the Parx Dirt Mile

September 21, 2019 02:32pm
Coal Front survives stretch duel to win the Parx Dirt Mile
Photo: Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

Odds-on favorite Coal Front, winless in two starts since scoring in the $1 million Godolphin Mile (G2) in March, outlasted Diamond King in a thrilling stretch duel to win the $150,000 Parx Dirt Mile at Parx on Saturday. 

With Hall of Famer Mike Smith in the irons, Coal Front held a slight edge over Diamond King while that pair carved fractions of 23:40, 47.10 and 1:11.30 for six furlongs. Racing on the outside, Diamond King took a slight lead on Coal Front at the top of the stretch and looked poised to spring the upset.

But Todd Pletcher-trained Coal Front was not finished. He battled back along the rail and eventually prevail over Diamond King by about a a length, completing one-mile in 1:37.53. Forewarned, last seen running off the board in the Whitney (G1) and Woodward (G1) was another 1 1/2-lengths back in third.

Coal Front paid $3.40 to win.

"I had horse," Smith said. "He don't care to be down there. He probably would have preferred to be out--but he still ran good."

"Second best," said Diamond King jockey Javier Castellano. "The other horse just dug in. My horse ran a hell of a race. No complaints and no excuses, just second best."

Owned by Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partnership Coal Front is a 5-year-old ridgling by Stay Thirsty out of Miner's Secret, by Mineshaft. He drew a hammer price of $550,000 when sold at the OBS Apri 2-year-olds in training sale.  

With earnings now in excess of $1.8 million, Coal Front has won eight of 12 starts with previous stakes wins coming in the Razorback (G3), Mr. Prospector (G3) and Gallant Bob (G3) at Parx. Following the Godolphin Mile, Coal Front ran seventh in the Metropolitan Handicap (G1) and third in the Monmouth Cup (G3) on July 20. 

It was recently announced that Coal Front would retire to begin his stud career in 2020 at Spendthrift Farm.

The field for the Parx Dirt Mile was reduced to six with the scratches of Bonus Points and Monongahela.  


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