Coppola Kicks Late To Prevail in Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint

February 10, 2024

Coppola wins the Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint (Ryan Thompson)

David Joseph/Gulfstream Park

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.— Hammer Time Stable and SOK Racing’s Coppola ($10.80) scored his first stakes victory Saturday at Gulfstream Park, settling off a blistering early pace before kicking in through the stretch to capture the $125,000 Gulfstream Park Turf Sprint.

Coming off a fourth-place finish behind victorious Panther Island after being involved in the early pace in the Dec. 31 Janus, Dale Romans-trained Coppola benefited from a torrid pace to power past Panther Island in deep stretch to win by a half-length.

“The trip came up perfect. There was a lot of speed up front that backed up,” Romans said. “He’s run some of his best races just sitting off of them. It was probably his best race yet today.”

That’s Right and Hope in Him provided plenty of early pace for Coppola’s off-the-pace journey, dueling past fractions of 20.38 and 42.62 (seconds) for the first half mile of the five-furlong turf dash. Panther Island made the first move on the tiring pacesetters in the upper stretch, while jockey Edgard Zayas split horses aboard Coppola, who finished with a strong kick to prevail in 54.39.

“We had a good trip. I saw there was a lot of speed, so I just wanted to get him out of there and sit like third or fourth. I was a little bit farther than what I was planning for, but it worked out good,” Zayas said. “There was plenty of pace today and he came on good at the end.”

Panther Island, the 5-2 second betting choice ridden by Leonel Reyes, finished a half-length clear of a late-running Eamonn. Carotari, the 3-2 favorite, showed brief early speed before backing out of the race.

@jonathanstettin congrats on a great hit. Very nice job!!!

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