Coup de Grace put his six opponents out of their misery with one fell swoop.
After settling off the pace in the Grade II Amsterdam, the prep for the Aug. 23 Grade I King’s Bishop, Coup de Grace and jockey Rosie Napravnik rallied to win easily, pulling away in the final furlong to a three-length win.
“He’s a very nice horse,” Napravnik said of the Tapit colt. “I spoke with Larry [Jones, trainer] this morning and rode him with a lot of confidence. He did it easily today.”
The 2-1 morning-line favorite, Rock Fall, scratched out of the 61⁄2-furlong race, and the Michael Hushion-trained Captain Serious broke from the gate as the favorite on the merits of his 3-1-0 record from his first four starts. Captain Serious bobbled the start and ended up just off the pace set by C. Zee and Big Guy Ian, but jockey Jose Ortiz was unable to get him to fire down the stretch.
“It was a good spot,” Ortiz said. “I came up a little empty by the three-sixteenths pole. My horse tried, but the winner — the horses that finished first and second — they ran extremely fast. He kept fighting and ran good.”
Meanwhile, Coup de Grace was content to cover the first quarter mile well behind the pace set in 21.87. Big Guy Ian was still a head ahead of C. Zee after a half in 44.45, but tired at about the time Coup de Grace was coming on along the outside.
Entering the stretch, Coup de Grace had headed the consistent C. Zee, and the pair was a length in front of Captain Serious and a fading Big Guy Ian. Napravnik switched over to a right-handed whip, and Coup de Grace kicked strongly to the wire in 1:15.32 to pay $5.70, $3.50 and $2.40.
C. Zee could not contend with Coup de Grace, but still extended the gap back to Captain Serious to two lengths to pay $5.70 and $3.00. Captain Serious returned $2.40 to show.
“We felt pretty confident,” Coup de Grace owner Rick Porter said. “There was plenty of speed in the race, and we thought that set up for us. He seems to always break bad, but that even helps him stay back where he belongs, and Rosie did a great job of bringing him up slowly and then asking him when it was the right time.”
While clearly pleased with his colt’s performance, Porter looks forward to testing further him on the Travers undercard in the King’s Bishop.
“We just have to keep him healthy, bring him back in four weeks, hopefully,” Porter said. “Then we’ll find out how good he is.”