Clubman shows ’em his heels in Coalition
Clubman was much the best in the Maryland Coalition Stakes. Photo by Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club.
The key question in the $75,000 Maryland Coalition Stakes Saturday at Timonium — whether Clubman would need more ground than the race’s 6 1/2 furlongs — turned out to be no question at all.
Under a confident Julian Pimentel ride, Clubman simply ran his five rivals off their feet en route to a 9 1/2-length victory that couldn’t have been any easier.
“He’s a pretty nice horse,” Pimentel said afterwards. “He did it pretty easily.”
He is, indeed.The five-year-old, Maryland-bred son of Not for Love now has nine career wins with earnings of $385,577. The win in the Coalition was the Rodolfo Sanchez-Salamon trainee’s second stakes victory, and both have come in the last five starts on bullring tracks. That prior triumph came in the $75,000 Russell Road Stakes at Charles Town in April.
Today’s race had six runners, with two likely contenders, Sparticle and Wonderful Light, scratched this morning.
Breaking from the rail, the Jeff Runco trainee Aaron’s Tap figured to be the main speed, but when the gates opened, Wesley Ho and Nova Boy were on a mission to take command. That duo opened up two lengths on Aaron’s Tap after an opening quarter-mile in a solid 22.58 seconds.
Clubman, meanwhile, was already 10 lengths back in last, and Pimentel felt compelled to give him a tap with the stick.
“I wanted him to be as close (to the pace) as possible,” Pimentel explained.
Pimentel kept Clubman perched outside of horses, and he steadily made up ground up the backstretch, shaving eight lengths off his deficit while moving from sixth to third. By the time the field had entered the far turn, he had seized the lead and steadily pulled away from there. Running time over a fast main track was 1:16.50.
Clubman paid $3.80 to win as the strong favorite and topped an exacta, with 5-1 North Atlantic, that returned $10.20 for a buck. Veteran campaigner Sonny Inspired was third.
“He’s a really nice horse,” Pimentel said. “The 6 1/2 furlongs was the question, but it looks like it was no problem for him.”
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