Coffeewithchris Brews Up 16-1 Upset in $100,000 Heft

December 30, 2022

Coffeewithchris captures the $100K Heft under Jaime Rodriguez (MJC)

Malibu Moonshine Stays Perfect with $100,000 Gin Talking Win

Maryland Jockey Club Press Release

LAUREL, Md.— Coffeewithchris, making the eighth start of his rookie season, put away Grade 3-placed Full Moon Madness on the turn and held off favored Prince of Jericho through the stretch to spring a 16-1 upset in Friday’s $100,000 Heft at Laurel Park.

The 21st running of the Heft for 2-year-olds and 14th renewal of the Gin Talking for 2-year-old fillies, both sprinting seven furlongs, led off six $100,000 stakes on a Christmastide Day program rescheduled from Dec. 26.

Owned by John Salzman Jr., Fred Wasserloos and Anthony Geruso and trained by Salzman, Coffeewithchris ($35.60) covered the distance in 1:24.96 over a fast main track for his second career win and first in a stakes.

Coffeewithchris and jockey Jaime Rodriguez found themselves quickly in front after a few jumps breaking outside each of their five rivals until Full Moon Madness, exiting a runner-up finish in the Nov. 6 Nashua (G2) at Aqueduct, surged up the rail to take the lead and hold it though a quarter-mile in 22.71 seconds and a half in 46.24.

Rodriguez ranged up on Full Moon Madness midway around the far turn and forged a short lead straightening for home, when 3-5 favorite Prince of Jericho – who had been tracking in third – launched his bid on the far outside. Coffeewithchris drifted out slightly in mid-stretch but had plenty left to turn back a game Prince of Jericho and win by 2 ½ lengths.

Twice stakes-placed Riccio, sent off at 22-1, closed to be third followed by Full Moon Madness, Alottacents and Midnight Trouble. We Don’t Need Roads and Home School were scratched.

“[Salzman] told me in the paddock there’s not much speed in the race so just use good judgment and figure out how the race goes,” Rodriguez said. “He broke good but when I saw the horse inside going I just stayed with him and I knew the favorite was behind me so I wanted to save some horse for the end. Once I ask him at the top of the lane, he gave me everything.”

Coffeewithchris, a gelded son of 2014 Preakness (G1) runner-up Ride On Curlin, debuted May 1 at Laurel and was promoted to the win after finishing second in a maiden claimer 11 days later at historic Pimlico Race Course. Mmost recently he ran fourth behind undefeated Recruiter in the Nov. 12 James F. Lewis III and third to unbeaten Post Time in the Dec. 3 Maryland Juvenile.

Having debuted as the Marylander in 1975, the Heft was renamed in 2016 to honor Maryland native and longtime horse owner Arnold Heft who campaigned such horses as millionaire Eighttofasttocatch, a three-time Maryland Million Classic winner, and fellow multiple stakes winners Red’s Round Table, Pulverizing and Baldski’s Choice. He passed away in 2014 at age 94.

Malibu Moonshine Stays Perfect with $100,000 Gin Talking Win

Malibu Moonshine remains undefeated in the $100K Gin Talking (MJC)

Happy Face Racing Stable’s Malibu Moonshine, unhurried in the early going, hugged the rail with a well-timed run from jockey Angel Cruz to catch front-running Stonewall Star in deep stretch and keep her perfect record intact with a 1 ¾-length victory in the $100,000 Gin Talking.

Based in New York with trainer Charlton Baker, Malibu Moonshine ($6.20) ran her record to 3-0 with each of her wins coming in Maryland. She captured her Sept. 11 debut at historic Pimlico Race Course by six lengths before a two-length triumph in Maryland Juvenile Fillies Dec. 3, both over off tracks. Friday was her first race over a fast surface.

“She felt better,” said Cruz, also aboard in the Maryland Juvenile Fillies. “Every time I asked for horse she was there. She responded, and she did it well. He did a great training job with her.”

Stonewall Star, winner of Aqueduct’s Key Cents against fellow New York-breds in her prior start, was in front through a quarter-mile in 23.72 seconds, ahead of the tight group of Gormley’s Gabriela, Give Me Kisses and Tappin Josie, while Malibu Moonshine raced far back after a tardy break.

As they approached the stretch Stonewall Star was still in command, with Give Me Kisses challenging to her outside. Meanwhile, Cruz began to make up ground along the inside with Malibu Moonshine, the 2-1 favorite who came with a steady run to surge past Stonewall Star past the sixteenth pole and open up to win in 1:26.86.

“In the beginning I wasn’t worried about it. I knew she was going to break slow,” Cruz said. “That’s what Charlton Baker told me. He said, ‘She’s slow from the gate, but when you break just sit there patiently and wait for your move.’

“She was alittle bit intimidated in there but as soon as I made my move, she improved,” he added. “Every time I [asked] her she improved for me. She had a great trip.”

Give Me Kisses edged Stonewall Star by a head for second, and it was another neck back to Gormley’s Gabriela in fourth. Miss Georgie, Ojitos Bellos and Tappin Jose completed the order of finish. She’s So Speightsy was scratched.

Gin Talking was named Maryland’s 2-year-old filly champion in 1999 after a perfect 4-0 season that included three stakes wins. She won three more stakes in 2000 including the Anne Arundel (G3) to earn both champion 3-year-old filly and Horse of the Year honors. She was retired after two starts in 2001 to become a broodmare; her first foal, Dixie Talking, won the 2005 Cicada (G3) and was the dam of 2013 Illinois Derby (G3) winner Done Talking.

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