Courtesy of Santa Anita Park ARCADIA, CA. (Jan. 7, 2023) – In the final race of the day on California Cup Day Saturday at Santa Anita, one of the state’s longest and most successful Thoroughbred owner/breeders, John Harris, witnessed his homebred Coalinga Road rally to take the $200,000 Unusual Heat Turf Classic presented by City National Bank by neck under Hall of Famer John Velazquez. Trained by Carla Gaines, Coalinga Road got a mile and one eighth on turf in 1:49.79.
The Unusual Heat Turf Classic is part of the lucrative CTBA-sponsored Golden State Series for eligible California-bred or sired horses.
Content to stalk the early leaders into the first turn, Coalinga Road was fourth, about two off Kings River Knight with three-quarters of a mile to run. Leaving the three furlong pole, Velazquez was on the move three-deep, gradually overtook Kings River Knight inside the sixteenth pole while prevailing over the onrushing Aligato and Luvluv on the money.
Bred and owned by Harris Farms, Inc., Coalinga Road, who had raced on dirt in his last two starts, most recently on Nov. 19 at Del Mar when third to the multiple stakes winning The Chosen Vron in the statebred Cary Grant Stakes at seven furlongs, was off at 3-1 in a field of eight older horses and paid $8.60, $4.20 and $3.20.
By Quality Road, out of the Johannesburg mare Coco Ecolo, Coalinga Road, in notching his first stakes win, improved his overall race record to 18-4-6-3. With the winner’s share of $110,000, he increased his earnings to $260,600.