11/15/2014 9:10PM

Coalport all out to prevail in Buck's Boy

Four Footed Fotos
Odds-on favorite Coalport works hard to get up by a neck under Rafael Hernandez in the Buck's Boy Handicap.

STICKNEY, Ill. – Coalport was bet in the $56,975 Buck's Boy Handicap on Saturday at Hawthorne like he couldn’t lose.

The odds-on favorite seemed determined for most of Hawthorne’s long homestretch to disprove that notion.

But under a hard drive for nearly a quarter-mile from jockey Rafael Hernandez, Coalport finally shrugged off several challengers, edging clear of 21-1 shot Yankee Dealer to win the Buck's Boy by a neck. Yankee Dealer had a half-length on Sweet Luca, who was followed home by Ultimo Trago, Dad Are We Here, and Valiant City. Super Soldier, who looked on paper like Coalport’s main rival, was scratched, as were Lashad and Copus. Coalport paid $3 to win and was timed in 1:41.96 for 1 1/16 miles on firm turf.

A Ken and Sarah Ramsey homebred, Coalport kept alive his career unbeaten streak in turf races restricted to Illinois-breds, but not by much. The 123-pound highweight stalked the moderate pace (splits of 24.46 seconds, 48.83, and 1:12.42) of Valiant City before commencing his move on the far turn. Caught between horses turning for home, Coalport could not leave behind his supposedly overmatched rivals, and slogged out his eighth career win from 21 starts.

Trained by Mike Maker, Coalport is a son of Kitten’s Joy. He won his third straight race this season and has captured 8 of 18 grass starts.

Alette breaks through in Illini Princess

Alette outslugged the more accomplished Kepi to capture the $61,000 Illini Princess by three-quarters of a length, an overdue stakes win for an Illinois-bred with a blue-blooded pedigree.

Bred and owned by Richard Otto, Alette is by Lemon Drop Kid and out of the El Gran Senor mare Amourette, an elite pedigree by Illinois standards. The 4-year-old filly had flashed ability on both turf and dirt for the last couple seasons, and probably hit peak form in her Saturday score.

Breaking from post 12 under Eddie Perez, Alette lost ground on both turns and was forced to rally wide, but it didn’t matter. Finishing resolutely while outside rivals, she seized the lead in midstretch and held clear Kepi’s sustained bid, seeing off that rival and surviving a stewards’ inquiry into the stretch run. Alette paid $19 to win and was timed in 1:42.85 for 1 1/16 miles on firm turf. Trained by Chris Block, she won for the sixth time in 16 starts, and for the first time in stakes competition.

Lovely Loyree was three-quarters of a length behind 3-1 second-choice Kepi, with Compelling Case fourth. Compelling Case was part of a Block-trained entry with I O Ireland, and I O Ireland, despite being the most fancied of the three Block runners with bettors, checked in a fading sixth after contesting a moderate pace.