The currency strikes from the front in With Anticipation


SARATOGA SPRINGS — Trainer Mark Casse had a hunch about Coinage, a New York-bred 2-year-old colt who was trying a lot of new things on Wednesday.

And the Hall of Famer was right.

Coinage and his jockey Junior Alvarado surged ahead and never looked back, winning the star Grade III, $150,000 with anticipation on a cloudy, rainy afternoon at Saratoga Racetrack. It was the first time Coinage had tried open company, the first time he had done two turns, and the first time he had run on grass.

Casse’s instincts were right as Coinage, a son of Tapit, seemed more than comfortable on the grass. And perhaps the most important thing was this: Coinage was good enough to do exactly what it did in the 1 1/16 mile turf test.

“I said to my wife Tina this morning, ‘We’ll see if they can catch it,'” Casse said in the winner’s circle as a drizzle fell from the sky. “I rarely say that, but I told Junior not to take any prisoners and go. He’s a good horse. He has a high cruising speed.”

Alvarado did as he was told and let Coinage roll. He managed to lay down moderate splits (25.66 seconds for the quarter mile and 50.65 for the half) then slid home to a two-length win.

Coinage provided his followers with good coin as he was the 6-1 fourth choice in the bet and paid out $15.80, $6.70 and $3.10. The last time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:43.69.

In his first three starts – all on gravel – Coinage took a first win and two third places. In his last race, the Rick Violette at Spa on July 21, he finished third as a 6-5 favorite.

“I thought he was an underachiever,” Casse said. “You’ve heard me say it a million times. Training horses is like putting a puzzle together. You have to keep trying the pieces until you find them. We figured it out today .”

Coinage is owned by Chester and Mary Broman, stalwarts of the New York ranching game, and DJ Stable, LLC, run by Leonard Green.

“I told Mr. Broman and the Greens that horse was something, and I said that four or five months ago,” Casse said. “We got here (in New York) and he won (in Belmont) but never showed the same as I thought I’d seen before.”

The more Casse thought about it, the more he thought Coinage’s future was on the grass.

He certainly showed it on Wednesday. Coinage hinted that he might like the grass because he worked the grass course at the Oklahoma practice track twice and did well.

“I thought he moved well on dirt, but the way he moves on grass is a hundred times better for sure,” Alvarado said. “It was easy for him.”

The grass course, despite the rain, was listed as firm. Portfolio Company, trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., finished second, 3 1/2 lengths ahead of limited liability favorite and jockey Jose Ortiz.


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