Coal Front returns to challenge True Timber in Bold Ruler Handicap

Coal Front returns to challenge True Timber in Bold Ruler Handicap
Photo: Sue Kawczynski/Eclipse Sportswire
Calumet Farm's True Timber will return to stakes competition coming off back-to-back impressive wins in optional claimers when he competes against five others in the Grade 3, $200,000 Bold Ruler Handicap for 3-year-olds and up on Saturday at Belmont Park.
The 43rd running of the Bold Ruler, contested at seven furlongs on the main track in Race 9, is the last of 18 total graded stakes for the Belmont fall meet. It also will be the feature on a 10-race card that will offer three stakes, including the $100,000 Awad for 2-year-olds in Race 4 and the $100,000 English Channel for 3-year-olds in Race 8.
True Timber has posted the two highest Beyer Speed Figures in his career in his last two starts, both on Belmont's Big Sandy, including a 102 for his 1 ¼-length score on June 10 at the Bold Ruler distance and a 95 for his win by a neck over Patternrecognition last out on September 16 at six furlongs.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said True Timber missed the Saratoga meet because of a superficialcut on his leg.
"He had a little incident, but it worked out and he's OK," trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. "He's gotten good and he's happy and seven-eighths shouldn't be an issue. He ran very fast last time. He's doing well, so we're hoping everything continues to go well."
The 4-year-old Mineshaft colt is 2-1-1 in five career starts at Belmont. He will again have the services of jockey Joe Bravo, who piloted him to victory in September over a fast main track, from post 3 at 117 pounds.
"He did a good job on him last time," McLaughlin said. "I think seven-eighths is good for him, so we'll see." 
Multiple graded stakes-winner Coal Front, coming off a half-length victory in the Grade 3 Gallant Bob on September 23 at Parx, has four victories in five career starts for trainer Todd Pletcher. The 4-year-old son of Stay Thirsty, who was purchased for $575,000 as a 2-year-old for owners Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners, has posted gate-to-wire wins in two of his last three starts, including wiring the field in the Grade 2 Amsterdam on July 29 at Saratoga and leading a 10-horse field through all six furlongs in the Gallant Bob.
Hall of Famer John Velazquez, aboard for all three of Coal Front's previous stakes starts, will be in the irons again from post 4 on the 122-pound highweight.
Lael Stables' No Dozing will be cutting back in distance after running fourth in the one-mile Grade 2 Kelso on September 22 at Belmont. Over the summer, the son of Union Rags made a successful 4-year-old debut off an eight-month layoff, where he won an optional claimer on July 21 at Saratoga. 
The Arnaud Delacour trainee, who was gelded during the time off, earned personal-best 101 Beyer for that win at seven furlongs, which marked the same distance where he ran fifth in the Grade 1 Forego on August 25 at the Spa.
Delacour said dropping down in class should help No Dozing, who won his only previous stakes in the 2017 Concern at Laurel Park.
"I think it's a good spot for him. He should appreciate the seven-eighths at Belmont," Delacour said. "He likes a big turn like that. I thought he ran a good race the last time. Maybe the one mile wasn't exactly what he wanted, I'm not sure. But he's been training well since the last race and I've been looking forward to running him."
Joel Rosario, who was aboard for the July win as well as the Forego, will have the return call from the rail at 119 pounds.
Delta Prince has recorded Beyer figures of 90 or better in eight straight starts for trainer Jimmy Jerkens, including a 104 in running second by a neck to Voodoo Song in the Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap on August 11 at the Spa. 
Delta Prince, who breezed four furlongs in 47.47 seconds on Monday at Belmont, drew post 6 with meet-leading rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard at 118 pounds.
Petrov will be seeking his first career stakes win after finishing second three times and posting a pair of third-place finishes for trainer Ron Moquett. Owned by Head of Plains Partners, Moquett and Rialto Racing Stables, the 4-year-old Flatter colt will be making his first graded stakes start since a sixth-place effort in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap on July 28 at Saratoga. 
Jockey Luis Saez will pick up the mount from post 5 carrying 117 pounds.
Bon Raison, in the midst of a three-race win streak, will make his graded stakes debut for trainer Gary Contessa, drew post 2. Manny Franco will ride at 112 pounds.

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