G3 Winner Coinage Looking for Paydirt in 100k G3 Kitten’s Joy
Among Five Graded-Stakes for 3-Year-Olds on Holy Bull (G3) Program
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Winless in two tries since finding graded-stakes success last summer in his turf debut, D.J. Stable and Chester and Mary Broman’s Coinage will launch his sophomore season in Saturday’s $100,000 Kitten’s Joy (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
The 10th running of the 1 1/16-mile Kitten’s Joy on turf is among five graded-stakes for 3-year-olds on a 12-race program highlighted by the $250,000 Holy Bull (G3), the next step on the road to the $1 million Florida Derby (G1).
Post time is noon.
Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse is hoping to find better racing luck for Coinage, a chestnut son of Tapit bred in New York by the Bromans. He ran third after getting bumped and being forced to steady early in the Nownownow at Monmouth Park, then tired to ninth after pressing the pace from Post 12 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). Both races came at one mile.
“At Monmouth, he had some trouble at the start. He kind of stumbled and didn’t get away from there,” Casse said. “In the Breeders’ Cup, it was probably just more about post position. When you go around at Del Mar going a mile and you draw outside, it’s kind of brutal. He just had a tough trip. We’re just trying to get him back and, hopefully, he’ll have a little luck this time.”
With his sire, the mare Bar of Gold and grandsire Medagila d’Oro all Grade 1 winners on the dirt, Coinage began his career sprinting on the main track, breaking his maiden second time out and running third in the Rick Violette, the latter at Saratoga. In an effort to stretch him out, Casse put Coinage on turf for the 1 1/16-mile With Anticipation (G3), and he responded with a front-running two-length triumph.
“We kind of felt like, just the way he moved, that he would like the grass. We worked him on the grass a couple times at Saratoga before we ran him on it and he just loved it,” Casse said. “He was impressive that day. I know that he’s more than capable, it’s just about having a good trip. He’s been compromised in his last two starts.”
Casse, winner of the 2018 Kitten’s Joy with Flameaway, enlisted Championship Meet leading Luis Saez to ride Coinage, who drew Post 2 in a field of eight.
“I think he’s doing well. He’s grown up a little bit over the wintertime,” Casse said. “He’s training well. We’re just trying to get him going and get him back started.”
Fellow Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher entered the pair of Grand Sonata and Royal Spirit. Whisper Hill Farm homebred Grand Sonata exits his first career stakes victory, a head decision over stablemate Chanceux in the one-mile Dania Beach Jan. 1 at Gulfstream.
“It was a pretty gutsy effort,” Pletcher said. “He had to kind of make up some ground off a slow pace and was able to get rolling late and get up in time. He was coming off kind of a tough trip in his prior race at Aqueduct so we were hoping to get a cleaner trip and we were able to do that. He’s pretty much shown up and run well every time.”
Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Royal Spirit will make his graded debut in the Kitten’s Joy. The Into Mischief colt broke his maiden by 1 ¼ lengths sprinting 7 ½ furlongs on the Gulfstream turf Jan. 2, after ending his juvenile season running second in the Nownownow – six lengths ahead of Coinage – and fourth in the Awad at Belmont Park.
“He’d already had some stake experience. He was second in the stake at Monmouth so we were looking to get him in the winner’s circle. We were happy to get the job done there and we’ve been focusing on this since then,” Pletcher said. “He’s got tactical speed. I think he’s capable of putting himself in a good spot and go from there. He seems like he’s coming into it the right way.”
Tyler Gaffalione is named on Grand Sonata from Post 1 and Paco Lopez will ride Royal Spirit from Post 6 for Pletcher, who won the 2013 Kitten’s Joy with Charming Kitten.
Gentry Farms’ Eldon’s Prince had a two-stakes win streak snapped last out in the 7 ½-furlong Pulpit on the Gulfstream turf Dec. 3. Prior to that he won the one-mile Proud Man on the grass at Gulfstream and an off-the-turf edition of the seven-furlong Armed Forces, the latter Sept. 18.
“The last race was off a little layoff and I thought he was a little flat training in his works for the race. It was a bit shorter, which wasn’t ideal, but we needed to get started back anyway,” Championship Meet-leading trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said. “Toward the latter part of the race he stayed on steadily. He was never going to win, but I thought it was a race to build on. Since that race he’s trained forwardly. I put some blinkers on him and I feel like he’s going into this race with a very good chance.”
Eldon’s Prince will wear blinkers for the first time and have the services of Irad Ortiz Jr. from Post 5. Joseph won the 2020 Kitten’s Joy with Island Commish.
“I toyed with the idea of putting him back on the dirt. The main thing, I think, with him is distance. He needs longer distances. That’s his main attribute, that he has a lot of stamina,” Joseph said. “We’ll try and get through this race first and then we’ll decide whether to give him a try on the dirt. For right now, we’re going to stick to the turf.”
Speaking Scout returns to Gulfstream after being beaten a head in the Pulpit for trainer Graham Motion and owner Aron Wellman’s Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners. He has run second in back-to-back starts after breaking his maiden in an off-the-turf maiden special weight last fall at Delaware Park.
“He’s a horse that Aron Wellman bought privately after his debut at Colonial [Downs]. Aron is someone that has a knack for finding these horses that are under the radar,” said Motion, who won the inaugural Kitten’s Joy with Howe Great. “He really hasn’t done anything wrong since we’ve had him. I thought he was a bit unlucky last time not to win. It was a matter of a head bob. He’s a nice, hard-trying horse.”
Junior Alvarado rides Speaking Scout from Post 4.
Completing the field are Silverton Hill’s Pulpit winner Red Danger; ProRacing Stable’s Father Glado, third in the Dania Beach; and Jim Bakke and Gerry Isbister’s Red Knobs, third in the Iroquois (G3) on the dirt last fall.