ELMONT, N.Y. – Coal Front, a multiple graded stakes-winning 3-year-old of 2017, will make his first start in 13 months in Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Bold Ruler Handicap at Belmont Park.
Coal Front, a son of Stay Thirsty, is 4 for 5, with his lone loss being a fifth-place finish in the Grade 1 H. Allen Jerkens at Saratoga in August 2017. On Sept. 23, 2017, Coal Front won the Grade 3 Gallant Bob Stakes at Parx. He came out of that race with a condylar fracture to his right foreleg.
Todd Pletcher, who trains Coal Front for Robert LaPenta and Sol Kumin’s Head of Plains Partners, was planning to run Coal Front in an allowance race for his return. But such a race did not fill either at Belmont or Keeneland, so this was his best option.
“He’s given us every indication in his training that he’s maintained his form,” Pletcher said. “Still, off a 13-month layoff, graded stakes, carrying top weight is a lot to overcome. He’s trained well and looks great.”
Coal Front, the 122-pound highweight, drew post 4 and will be conceding three to 10 pounds to five rivals in the Bold Ruler.
Delta Prince, who has made his last eight starts on turf, will return to dirt for the first time since he finished third in his career debut at Belmont two years ago.
Petrov, who finished third behind Coal Front in the 2017 Gallant Bob, is trying to win his first stakes race in his 14th try and 20th race overall.
Completing the field are True Timber, a winner of two straight allowance races; Bon Raison, a winner of three straight in the claiming ranks; and No Dozing.
There are two other stakes Saturday, both in jeopardy of being moved from turf to the main track due to rain in the forecast.
The $100,000 English Channel, for 3-year-olds at a mile, drew a field of 10 led by Therapist, Rose’s Vision, and Golden Brown. The $100,000 Awad Stakes, for 2-year-olds at a mile, drew six runners for turf, including Empire of War, who was pre-entered for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf but is unlikely to draw into that race, and A Threat of Blue, who was second to subsequent stakes winner Current in a maiden turf race and then won his next start on dirt.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
Visit DRF.com for additional news, notes, wagering information, and more.