Castellano Notches Four-Win Afternoon
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Having resisted the temptation to unveil touted 2-year-old Coup de Grace at Saratoga Race Course this summer, trainer Chad Brown is being rewarded for his patience.
It was the first try against winners for Coup de Grace, who didn’t make his debut until Nov. 9 at Aqueduct Racetrack. He stretched out from six furlongs to a mile in his latest effort, hitting the wire in 1:36.76 under jockey Javier Castellano.
“He’s still learning the game, and that was one of the reasons this horse didn’t run at Saratoga,” Brown said. “He had all the talent in the world, and he was having some behavioral issues in the morning so we decided not to put him through the pressure of Saratoga. “It’s so busy up there, and he was showing some greenness intermittently in his training. Training for Fox Hill is great because [owner Rick Porter] just said, ‘When he’s ready, run him.’ He got it together this fall, and he’s doing real well.”
Favored at 4-5 in the field of nine, Coup de Grace ($3.60) broke from post eight and settled behind Prudhoe Bay through the opening quarter-mile in 23.40 seconds. Castellano took Coup de Grace to the lead after a half in 46.23, and turned for home still in front. Hy Kodiak Warrior made a bold move to chase Coup de Grace around the turn, but was unable to match strides and finished second, 3 ¾ lengths ahead of Gone as Wind in third.
“He’s a very professional horse. I liked the way he did it,” Castellano said. “He’s a very straightforward horse. He broke well out of the gate and he felt so sharp today. He wanted to run. I let him see a target in the beginning and he rated pretty good, very kind. Turning for home, sometimes with young horses they look around a little bit but as soon as the horse came to him on the outside, he was focused. He just took off. He has a lot of talent, and we’re looking forward to what’s next.”
Brown said he wants to continue to stretch Coup de Grace out, and will consider the $400,000 Holy Bull (G3) at Gulfstream on Jan. 25, run at 1 1/16 miles.
“The Holy Bull would be a strong possibility because he’s here, he’s run over the track and he loves training here,” Brown said. “I’ll discuss that with Mr. Porter and, first and foremost, see how the horse is doing out of the race. We’ll make sure we have him nominated everywhere, and we’ll start to test this horse around two turns more than likely.”
Coup de Grace was purchased for $300,000 out of Keeneland’s September sale in 2012, and joined Brown’s string at Palm Meadows shortly after winning his debut.
“I thought he ran really well,” Brown said. “He rated nicely up close to the pace like we talked about. We drew a great post, so that was easy to accomplish. He did what he had to do. He won, and Javier told me that when the other horse came to him at the wire, he galloped out pretty well. I think he’s earned his spot in a stakes race somewhere.”
Who’s Hot: Castellano posted his first four-win day of the meet, taking the sixth with Coup de Grace ($3.60), the $100,000 South Beach with Baffle Me ($4) in the eighth, the ninth with Onlyforyou ($3.60), and the finale with Meuser ($).
Meet-leading rider Paco Lopez added two more to his total on Sunday, winning the second with Longing for Quiet ($8.20) and the third with K B Biorhythms ($6.40).
Trainer Todd Pletcher picked up two wins on the day, sweeping the late double with 2-year-olds Onlyforyou and Meuser.
Rainbow 6 Carryover: $57,967.02