Coastal Mission looks to sail in Coin Collector

During the weekend in between the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes, Charles Town will seek to fill the void for fans of talented three-year-olds this Saturday night when it hosts the latest edition of the $75,000 Coin Collector Stakes for West Virginia-bred sophomores. The Coin Collector is a one-turn dash named for one of the best state-bred runners of the 1990s.

Heading into the upcoming renewal of the Coin Collector, much of the attention will fittingly be focused on a pair of sophomores trained by Jeff Runco, Run to Daylight and Coastal Mission Run to Daylight scored in last fall’s West Virginia Vincent Moscarelli Memorial Breeders’ Classic to cap off a state-bred two-year-old championship season, while Coastal Mission easily prevailed in his career debut over the strip before spending the next six months competing against open stakes company at Laurel Park.

Runco said he was on the fence about whether to run both but would definitely send one to the post.

“Coastal Mission is definitely going to run. I think he’s been doing really good,” the trainer said. “Those races at Laurel were pretty good. There’s really not a lot of one-turn sprint races for three-year-olds this time of year. I think he’s better suited for the sprint and I think he’ll run well on Saturday.”

Coastal Mission placed in the Maryland Million Nursery for two-year-olds and then the Maryland Juvenile Championship to close his freshman campaign. This year he ran second in the Spectacular Bid Stakes before scoring in a Laurel allowance February 21.

A son of Great Notion, Coastal Mission is a full brother to Lewisfield, another Runco trainee. Lewisfield, a homebred for Linda Zang, won nine races and more than a half-million dollars in a 27-race career.

“I’m not sure yet if I’ll run Run to Daylight,” Runco added. “I want to talk it over with [owner] David [Raim]. Run to Daylight needs a little more distance. He ran okay his last race, but the 4 1/2 is not really perfect for him. I think he just wants more distance, so I’ll have to wait for a two-turn race here.”

In the compact field of six state-bred sophomores that could be whittled to five by post time if Runco opts not to run Run to Daylight on Saturday night, Coastal Mission is listed as the 3-5 morning line favorite with regular pilot Arnaldo Bocachica aboard. The Coleswood Farm homebred graduated at first asking last September 25 in a split, one-turn maiden special weight race before his four consecutive starts in Maryland.

Run to Daylight, listed as the 9-2 second choice on the morning line, began his career with three straight victories at Charles Town, scoring in his career debut in a maiden special weight event. Following that, he closed his two-year-old campaign with wins in both the Henry Mercer Memorial and Vincent Moscarelli Memorial over the strip.

He then ventured to Laurel where he finished fourth in the Heft Stakes and seventh in the James F. Lewis Stakes. This year Run to Daylight has stayed at home thus far, running second in his sophomore debut on January 26 before finishing fourth in his latest outing here last month, both at the one-turn dash distance.

Math Man Marco will seek his first stakes tally and head into the race off a sharp allowance score late last month for trainer Irving Velez and owner-breeder Robert Cole, Jr. The sophomore son of Alliance graduated at first asking in January and then was eighth in his first try against winners. He subsequently finished third in an allowance race in early April before recording a sharp tally last out on April 29.

Math Man Marco is listed as the 5-1 third choice, but that price should drop if Run to Daylight opts out on Saturday night. Carlos Lopez is named to ride.

Three other state-bred males will also be looking to enhance their resumes with their first stakes victory on Saturday night. Jefferson Native (6-1) prevailed in his career debut in February and has been second twice in three allowance tries for trainer Linda Dohlinger-Stehr, including a near-miss runner-up effort behind Math Man Marco last out on April 29.

Royal Pain (8-1) flopped in his career debut but then rebounded to win his most recent start on April 27 for trainer Jamey Johnson and owner-breeder O’Sullivan Farms. Spirit of Windsor (20-1) owns the distinction of being both the least experienced horse in the field and the only undefeated one courtesy of his debut score on April 6 against maiden special weight company for owner-breeder-trainer Tim Collins.