Coup de Grace returns to winning ways in Bay Shore
By Sean Morris
Coup de Grace
Coup de Grace put his nose on the wire first to win a riveting edition of the Grade 3, $300,000 Bay Shore over Oliver Zip on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Chad Brown for Fox Hill Farms, the son of Tapit broke a tad slowly and settled near the back of the pack for jockey Javier Castellano behind a torrid pace set by Favorite Tale. After an opening quarter-mile in 22.55 seconds, Coup de Grace began his advance entering the far turn and continued to build momentum through a half in 45.27. Spun five wide into the stretch, the Brown trainee exchanged bumps with runner-up Oliver Zip at the head of the lane, and the two continued to battle to the finish while passing the languishing front-runners. On the wire, Coup de Grace proved best by a nose over his determined rival, while it was another half-length back to race favorite Kobe's Back in third.
"The way I handicapped the race, it was a lot of speed," said Castellano. "Chad [Brown] and I talked about the race and we tried to take advantage of a lot of speed in the race. We tried to come from behind, quicken up a little bit. The distance, seven-eighths, I think he's a come-from-behind horse. He didn't break sharply, and it worked out great for me. I was able to relax behind horses. He finished very strongly today."
Coup de Grace began his career in promising fashion on November 9 at the Big A, defeating next-out winner Unknown Road at six furlongs. Stretched out to a mile in his next start, the precocious colt responded to the challenge, defeating the well-regarded Hy Kodiak Warrior by a length at Gulfstream Park. The effort was good enough to land him a spot in the Grade 2 Holy Bull on January 25 at Gulfstream, but mid-race trouble cost him all chance of winning. Rather than forge ahead on the Triple Crown trail, Brown and company regrouped and plotted a new campaign for their talented colt. The two-month freshening and return to sprinting proved to be the perfect combination, as he covered the seven furlongs in a swift 1:23.19.
Coup de Grace boosted his career earnings to $248,100 for Fox Hill Farms and returned $16.20 on a $2 win bet.
After a poor break left him at the back of the field, jockey Corey Nakatani had little else but to pray for a fierce duel to unfold in front of him aboard Kobe's Back. The blistering pace materialized, but Nakatani and Kobe's Back ran out of ground late and had to settle for third.
"He slipped a little bit when he broke," said Nakatani. "He actually broke kind of hard and it slipped away from him. He's a horse that obviously has a lot of talent. He ran at Oaklawn, shipped back home, came back here - he's done a lot of traveling, so he may not have run his best race, but he gave a good effort. All the traveling that he's done had to take a little wind out of his sails. We'll get 'em next time."
It was another half-length back to The Admiral in fourth, with Charleymillionaire, Financial Mogul, Favorite Tale, and Loki's Vengeance completing the order of finish.