10/10/2011 8:57AM

Fresno: Coup de Coeur turns back Killer Graces in Soviet Problem


Coup de Coeur took advantage of her speed to lead every step of the way in capturing the $75,000 Soviet Problem Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at the Big Fresno Fair on Sunday.

An Exchange Rate filly, Coup de Coeur relaxed nicely under jockey Frank Alvarado and pulled away from even-money favorite Killer Graces in the lane to win the 1 1/16-mile race by 4 1/4 lengths in 1:46.45. Distant Image, the only member of the field of five with a victory around two turns, was third, another four lengths back. Coup de Coeur paid $6 to win.

Alvardo put Coup de Coeur on the lead out of the gate and was content to stay about three wide while forcing the stalking Killer Graces to race even wider around the first turn. Coup de Coeur relaxed nicely while not being seriously challenged down the backstretch and had plenty left when Killer Graces moved within a length of her at the quarter pole.  

“She relaxes better on the lead,” said winning trainer Jeff Bonde. “We hoped her speed would carry, and it did. Frank rode her very well.”

Coup de Coeur earned $45,100 for her first stakes victory and second win in five starts for an eight-owner partnership to increase her career earnings to $69,220.