Coronel, a 35-year-old from Argentina, competed as an apprentice jockey in his native country, and, after immigrating to the United States, assisted trainers Frank Martin, Sr. and Angel Penna, Jr. He most recently worked for H. James Bond, who trained Risky Rachel to a win in the 2011 Friendly Island Iroquois. Now on his own, Coronel at the moment has Risky Rachel as his only protégé, but said he will soon receive four or five more horses.
“A month ago, Mr. Bacon called me and asked me if I wanted to train her,” said Coronel. “I’m so blessed to have this kind of mare. She’s doing everything the right way. I’m confident she’ll run a big race from what she has been showing me in the morning.”
Risky Rachel entered top form with a 10-length win in a New York-bred optional claimer in August at Saratoga Race Course, then earned her first stakes victory by a posting 2 ¼-length score in the Friendly Island Iroquois in October at Belmont Park. In her most recent start, she finished fifth, beaten 2 ½ lengths, in the Grade 2 Go for Wand Handicap in November at Aqueduct. Prior to posting a pair of breezes on the Belmont training track on March 5 and 11, Risky Rachel was in training in Ocala, Coronel said.
Cornelio Velasquez will ride Risky Rachel, the 2-1 morning-line favorite, from the rail.
The Broadway is set to be the final start for Big Brownie, a 6-year-old who has won three stakes in her career, including the Aqueduct’s Holly Springs overnight stakes on February 3 the last time she went postward. In the race, Big Brownie raced in third early, briefly dropped back to fourth on the turn, and swept by the front runners in the stretch to prevail by 1 ¼ lengths.
The Holly Springs was her initial outing since a triumph in the Cupids Way overnight stakes at Belmont last spring, the second consecutive race in which the daughter of Wheelaway had bled.
“She had been training really well [prior to the Holly Springs] and she tries all the time, so I did think she’d run well,” said trainer Leah Gyarmati, who owns the mare in partnership with Wide Rill Farm. “It was a good spot for her first race back; it wasn’t that tough of a race. She definitely earns her keep. I think we might breed her after this. She’s been doing well, but I don’t want to push it. Hopefully, it will be a good showing.”
Big Brownie, the 5-2 second choice on the morning line, will leave from post 7 with Eddie Castro at the helm.
Runner-up to Big Brownie in the 2011 Cupids Way was Devilish Spirit, who over the following five weeks made two starts in optional claimers, winning by a neck on May 27 and finishing last of four on June 8. Trainer Bruce Brown decided to give Devilish Spirit a lengthy break following her busy spring campaign and admits he didn’t give her enough time between starts.
“She usually runs well fresh,” said Brown, who conditions the 5-year-old for Pont Street Stable. “All systems are ‘go.’ [The Broadway] was the best spot for her. There’s nothing else for her. We’re not going to run her for a tag. She runs well fresh, so we’re not too worried about it. She needs space between her races, so you have to baby her along and give her time. When you don’t give them time, they’ll make you give them time.”
David Cohen has the assignment aboard Devilish Spirit, 6-1 on the morning line, from post 6.
The field also includes Lady Gracenote, Saltamontes, and Nicole’s Miss El; respectively second, third, and fourth in the Holly Springs; and Victoryat Last, who has won three straight at Charles Town.